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Conversation Do's & Don'ts

Learn the top conversation do's and don'ts from manners expert Faye de Muyshondt in this Howcast video.


Hi. I'm Faye de Muyshondt from Social Skills here to teach you conversation dos and don'ts. In terms of conversation dos, number one, you want to make sure that you're making eye contact the entire time that you're having a conversation. There might be a moment of two when you need to look away or you look up at the ceiling, which is fine. But generally speaking, you should be making good eye contact throughout the conversation.

Number two, you want to have good body language during a conversation. I could sit and have a conversation with you like this, or I could sit like this. And it shows that I'm a lot more engaged in the conversation with you. Number three, be sure that you're smiling while you're having a conversation. There's nothing worse than talking with someone who's got a frown on their face and doesn't appear to be engaged in the conversation.

Number four, make sure that you have some conversation starters and questions to keep the conversation going. Simple questions like, "How are you today?" "How are things?" "What brings you here today?" Make sure that you have those ready at your fingertips at all times. Number five, make sure that you have responses that are more than one word. The whole idea of a conversation is that it is an exchange of information between two people. A one-word response to a question won't give someone very much information about you and doesn't lend for the situation to keep the conversation going.

Now let's get to the conversation don'ts. A lot of the don't are exactly mirrored from the conversation dos. But also keep in mind a few things that, for example, you should never ask during a conversation. You shouldn't ask about someone's age. You shouldn't ask about salary. You shouldn't ask about religious views or political views. And keep away from the taboo subject of, "Are you pregnant?" There's nothing worse than asking a woman if she's pregnant when she actually isn't pregnant.

A few other things to keep in mind as you're having a conversation. You absolutely want to make sure that you're actively listening to someone and that you're not looking away as someone is speaking. Generally speaking, during a conversation you want to have good body language, eye contact. You want to have conversation starters ready. You want to respond to questions with more than one-word responses. And generally you want to keep conversations going. The whole purpose of a conversation, again, is to parlay information to one another and to get to know each other. So those are just a few important guidelines of how to help you through a conversation.

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