Many introverts worry that they do not have good conversational skills. However, these skills, like any other, can be learned. This can improve your confidence in all social situations and help you develop meaningful relationships with the people around you.
Having good conversational skills can be important in every area of our lives from relationships to work.
Many introverts are particularly daunted by large groups and social situations. We don’t particularly like small talk and can find meeting new people stressful.
However, social situations provide an opportunity to make new connections with people and deepen our relationships with those we already know. When our conversational skills are good, we can build relationships and make the most of the opportunities that arise.
Learning to be a good conversationalist is not as difficult as it sounds. Working on a few of your beliefs and ideas can really improve your ability to be confident and charismatic in conversations with others.
1. Raise your self-esteem
In order to have a good conversation with someone else, it helps to have faith in yourself and your own ideas. If your confidence has been knocked then you will benefit from taking steps to improve it.
Often those with low self-esteem avoid conversations from fear of rejection. Once you have more faith in yourself, you won’t worry about this so much. So, do anything you can to boost your self-worth. Do something different, learn a new skill or take up a new hobby. Being competent at things boosts your confidence.
In addition, try these two exercises:
- Write down ten things you like about yourself. This could be anything from the colour of your eyes or your responsible attitude towards the environment to your knowledge of ancient Greek history.
- Write down ten achievements that you are proud of. Think about the things, both big and small that you are proud to have done. This could be anything from a time when you were kind to a stranger to a securing a promotion.
Once you feel better about yourself you won’t fear rejection so much and can go into social and work situations with a sense of openness and curiosity rather than fear. This will make you more relaxed and will help conversations flow more smoothly.
2. Understand yourself
Conversation is a way to get to know others. However, in order to do this, you first have to know yourself. If you know your own strengths and weaknesses, beliefs, ideas and opinions, you feel more certain of yourself in conversation with others. So spend some time getting to know yourself.
You could try these exercises:
- Write down your ten most important values. Choose things that you believe are integral to the way you live your life and interact with others. For example compassion, love, integrity, justice, creativity, happiness or responsibility.
- Write down your five best strengths. Think about what is good about you. Are you reliable, creative, hardworking or kind?
- Write down your five passions. What do you really love to do or experience? Do you love fixing up vintage cars or swimming in the sea? Are you passionate about travel, languages and culture?
Once you know yourself more deeply, you will find it easier to share more of yourself with others.
3. Manage your limiting beliefs
Our beliefs can really affect how we interact with others. Negative beliefs, in particular, can affect how we see ourselves and others. Common negative beliefs that can affect our ability to connect with others include:
- The world is a dangerous place
- Other people can’t be trusted
- I could get hurt
- I am not good, interesting or clever enough
- I do not deserve good relationships
Working on changing these beliefs can transform our lives. Try to figure out if you have any negative beliefs and practice finding examples of more positive thought patterns. You can use positive affirmations to make your new beliefs stick.
4. Be mindful
When we go into a situation full of anxiety and fears, we make everything harder than it needs to be. Fear of making a fool of ourselves or being rejected can make it impossible to show the best of ourselves and be present to the other person.
Practising mindfulness can really help us to be in the moment and stay open to making a true connection with the other person. Even taking a few deep breaths before entering a room can help us to be more relaxed. In addition, being mindfully present during a conversation helps us to really listen to what the other person has to say.
Practising mindfulness techniques such as meditation and relaxation can also help us to overcome our fears and allow us to feel more confident and connected to ourselves. This makes it much easier to connect with others.
5. Be open to others
A conversation is a two-way street. It involves attentively listening to the other person, but it also involves sharing something of yourself. Relationships make us vulnerable, but we have to embrace this vulnerability if we are to deepen our connection with others.
You shouldn’t expect others to open up to you if you don’t also open up to them. Of course, you don’t want to share something too personal with someone you don’t know very well. But revealing something about who you are and what is important to you will allow a relationship to grow more deeply. Without this openness, you will never manage to be more than an acquaintance with someone else.
6. Get out there
Once you have worked on some of these ideas, you will need to get out and practice your conversational skills. Try using your newfound understanding, mindfulness and confidence to chat with everyone you meet with, from your boss to the cashier at your local store.
Practice really does improve your ability to connect with others and each time you connect with someone you will improve your skills, learn from your mistakes and boost your confidence.
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