Having strong conversation skills allows you to confidently engage anyone in your organization, whether it’s the new intern or the CEO of the company. And because opportunities are often presented to those who are likable and confident, improving your conversation skills can help to speed up the growth in your career. Improving your conversation takes practice and a conscious effect.
In this article, we discuss the importance of conversational skills in the workplace and share tips for how you can improve your own conversation skills.
Tips for improving conversational skills
Conversation skills refer to a collective group of skills needed to communicate effectively with another person. They allow you to understand and be understood by others. More than that, though, conversation skills allow you to connect with people and build strong relationships. People who are strong conversationalists appeared smooth and charismatic when they talk and others are often drawn to this behavior.
Understanding the importance of developing conversational skills for the workplace, here are some tips for improving your own skills.
1. Listen actively to others
Listening shows that we are interested in the other person and what they have to say. Listening is as vital as speaking since a conversation should consist of sharing information. Practice active listening by paying attention, asking clarifying questions and repeating the message back to the speaker.
2. Look for nonverbal cues
Nonverbal communication is just as important as the words the person chooses. One example is body language. Make eye contact with the other person. Nod your head yes or shake your head no. Lean forward slightly to hear them better. It is important that the message you are sending is consistent, both verbally and nonverbally.
Related: Nonverbal Communication Skills
3. Hold eye contact
While most people only hold eye contact approximately two-thirds of the time or less, maintaining eye contact conveys confidence and interest in what is being said. Practice attempting to hold the eye contact of the person with whom you’re speaking. Confidence emphasizes your message. Stand up straight. Use a level tone. Make eye contact. Know what you want and believe you can get it. Give the impression that you will follow through with what you are saying. This is where active listening can come in handy, as can empathy.
4. Have empathy
Empathy is vital. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Try to see their point of view. Statements such as “I understand where you’re coming from” can help build trust. Respect the other person, even when you disagree. Be polite and professional. People may forget what you say, but they will not forget how you made them feel. Be empathetic. Show them by your words and actions that they matter.
5. Pay attention to details
People with strong conversation skills take notice of details that the average person might not notice and bring attention to those details during the conversation. For example, you may notice that the person you’re speaking with has a slight accent or is wearing an interesting ring. These are small details you could bring into your conversation to show the other party that they have your undivided attention. Offer compliments related to these small details.
6. Offer interesting insights
People with good conversation skills can frequently tell you things you didn’t know and find interesting. Listen to podcasts. Read books and industry magazines. Learn what you can about your industry so that when you are in a situation where you’re discussing your organization, you will offer in-depth knowledge on the industry and any new trends.
7. Talk slowly
People who are good conversationalists often act as though they have an abundance of time and as though there is no place else they would rather be. They take their time when they speak and often reflect on what they will say before they speak. This makes them appear centered and collected. Model this method of speaking to come off the same way.
8. Use the right words
The ability to communicate well with others has a lot to do with finding the right words to convey precise feelings or thoughts. Work to constantly develop your vocabulary and practice communicating as accurately as possible. By expanding your vocabulary, you will express yourself more easily.
The importance of conversation skills at work
Regardless of the industry, the ability to communicate effectively with supervisors, colleagues and support staff is essential.
Employees in the digital age must know how to effectively transfer and receive messages in person and via phone, email and social media. Strong conversation skills also allow you to be highly memorable and effective when networking, which can create opportunities for professional growth and career advancement that might have been otherwise unavailable.
Some specific ways that conversation skills can impact employee performance in the workplace is by:
- Alleviating conflict: Making adjustments in how you communicate with team members can often reduce conflicts
- Increasing employee engagement: Conversation skills allow you to better understand the needs of employees and creates a more positive work environment
- Creating a more productive workforce: With strong conversation skills, a leader can influence their team and better engage team members to fully understand the talents and skills of their workforce