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Friday, December 2, 2011

How to Join a Conversation

Have you ever stood on the edge of a conversation not quite knowing how to join in? Here are a few useful steps that can help you, particularly at work where people often gather in groups of two or three during coffee and lunch breaks. Joining conversations takes practice, so don't give up if your first attempt is not successful.    

            1. Move as close to the group as you can.   Listen until you know what people are talking about.
2.  Listen to what specific people are saying about the topic and use body language to  show that
     you are interested. Nod a few times. Put some expression on your face.

3.  When there is a suitable pause in the conversation, give your opinion, or make a comment on 
      what someone else in the group has said. Ex. "Yeah, I loved that movie  too. It really kept my
      attention right up to the end. I didn't know what was going to  happen."
4.   Continue the conversation as if you were already in it. If you show that you are interested , the          other members probably won't have any problems with you joining in.

5    If you don't know what the group is talking about, but it sounds interesting, ask them what 
       they're talking about. Then, listen to what different people have to say about it and continue      
       step two  Ex. " I heard you guys laughing. It sounds like you're have an interesting conversation.
      What are you talking about?" .

6.   If you join a conversation, but have absolutely no idea what people are talking about, donèt  say
      anything until you have figured out just what they are talking about.  Do not simply rely on the 
      last sentence you heard. 

7.   If you know the people,, they are likely to let you into the conversation. If they hint that
      you should go away, you should.                          

SPECIAL NOTE: The biggest conversation killer self-consciousness. If you act  as if you don't belong, you will make others uncomfortable, particularly if you don't speak at all. The WORST thing you can do is NOT speak up when there is an obvious opportunity.  

How to Make it Easy for Someone to Join Your Conversation 

1.    Pay attention to what is going on around you. Is there someone hovering around the edge of 
       your of your group who looks interested?

2.   Use body language to let the person know they are welcome. Signal with your head, or open
       up a space in the group so that the other person can actually move in. 

3.    Make the newcomer feel welcome. Physically include him or her in the group, and make others
       in the group aware that someone else has joined in. Do NOT exclude the newcomer unless your 
       conversation is private.

4.    Give the newcomer time to get comfortable with the topic. Then if the person seems a little shy 
        about saying something, give him or her a helping hand. Ex. So, how do YOU feel about the 
        hockey riots, Michelle

5.    If the newcomer makes a comment, or offers an opinion, respond to it, just as you would to any
        would to any other person in the group.  

6.    You have now made someone else comfortable about joining in to your conversation. Keep 
       doing it,  and you will have acquired an important social skill.  Maybe someone will be as 
       helpful to you in another situation.

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