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ORAL COMMUNICATION

How to Develop the Skills of Conversation?

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Below are several skills of conversation. You need to remember them when speaking with others.

  • Sensitivity to other participants’ desire to speak. Ceasing to talk and allowing others to speak is a highly valued skill that will be appreciated by your listeners. It shows selflessness as well as sends the message that other people are important to you. If two of you started speaking and the other one decided to stop and allow you to speak, you must return the favor and ask the person to speak. It also involves waiting for the other participant to compose his or her thoughts instead of taking the opportunity to continue talking. In particular, interrupting others by speaking louder is not acceptable. You show respect by letting them finish what they are saying.
  • Engaging others to speak. Sometimes, there are participants who are too shy to speak. You can help them participate by asking them about what they can say. Engaging others to speak builds inclusivity and helps create an atmosphere of camaraderie. It is another way of showing that you value people.
  • Sensitivity to others’ desire not to speak. Sometimes and for some reason, other people simply do not want to speak but are willing to let you and others do so. Repeatedly trying to engage them to talk may actually irritate them. You need to be sensitive to their desire and respect their option not to speak.
  • Showing a willingness to listen. Showing interest to what others are saying is a very important skill that shows your sympathy toward others. By doing so, you send the message that you value them and what they have to say. Being willing to listen also enables you to understand others better and relate to them well. It involves truly paying attention to what others are saying instead of just waiting for them to pause and start speaking yourself.
  • Remembering what others have already said. A conversation where one speaker superficially asks questions again and again without actually internalizing what the other person has already said is a very unwelcome activity. It shows that the speaker is not really sincere in getting to know the person he or she is talking with. For this reason, your objective must be to really get to know the person. You do not think of the next question while the person is still speaking but try to understand and digest what is being said.
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