Skip to main content

Stephanie Munez

Special Projects Assistant

empty
Two friends talking
Credit
bewakoofofficial on Unsplash
You can also apply this advice in the future during informational interviews, job interviews, or staff meetings. The key to mastering this skill is practice!

Think back to a memorable or enjoyable conversation. What did you talk about and what made it memorable/enjoyable? Interacting with others happens on a daily basis, whether it is at a business meeting, presentation, or an informal conversation with a friend or co-worker. Mastering this skill can lead to better relationships between co-workers, friends and clients. Here are a few techniques:

Be Aware of Your Body Language

Present yourself in a way that allows other people to perceive you as approachable, engaged, and intrigued. Be mindful of your posture. Sitting or standing with your back straight and elongated will demonstrate your confidence. Slouching with your arms crossed can be off-putting. While speaking to one person or a group, demonstrate that you are interested in the conversation by smiling, nodding, and maintaining eye contact. Generally, people are more likely to open up and feel comfortable talking to you if you have set this foundation for the conversation.

Be Polite

Upon meeting a person or a group, introduce yourself with a formal handshake. During the conversation, listen carefully when someone is speaking and do not interrupt this person. Try to listen more than you speak because doing so will help you learn more about the other person. When you have finished, shake hands again, followed by something along the lines of “it was great meeting and chatting with you.” It is also highly recommended that you exchange contact information with each other to expand your network, and maintain these new connections by engaging in future conversations in-person or through social media. There are 8 steps to build relationships after networking. Read the article to learn about customizing follow-up letters and connecting with these new contacts on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

Be Confident, but Modest

Act confident by talking in a strong and clear voice, and avoid displaying any nervous mannerisms. However, find a balance between being confident and modest. You are not trying to overpower the people you are speaking with by boasting about your accomplishments because this can make some feel inferior. You would like your audience to open up to you and making yourself seem superior can be a barrier to this goal.

Topics of Conversation

People enjoy talking about common interests, work, volunteer activities, hobbies, and family. Your goal is to excite the other person into the conversation by talking about something that he or she would be interested in or passionate about. People generally love talking about themselves and getting them to do so makes them feel more comfortable talking to you. Occasionally ask open-ended questions to advance the conversation, or by talking about mutual interests or similar experiences. Find common ground and avoid using every occasion as an opportunity to talk more about yourself. Also steer away from sensitive subjects, like religion, politics, money, relationships, and health.

Be Yourself

At times it is easy to get carried away in conversations, especially if you come in with the intention of being unique, memorable, or are trying to impress someone. However, the best way to handle a conversation is to be yourself because this is what comes off as natural. Approach conversations with a positive attitude and avoid any negative judgments or criticisms.

Now that you’ve gotten a few tips and tricks on the art of conversation, why don’t you try it out tomorrow at your next university class, workshop, or volunteer training? You can also apply this advice in the future during informational interviews, job interviews, or staff meetings. The key to mastering this skill is practice!

About the Author

Stephanie Munez

Special Projects Assistant

You Might Like These... Prospective, Professional Development, Career Exploration

Co-op students jumping in the air
The Co-op Connection Helps Retention

In this blog post, Heather shares with us why co-op is an important experience for all students, whether it be to further career aspirations or to gain future employment opportunities. 

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

Hands holding a volunteer badge
Sana Siddiqui: Volunteerism Opens up Endless Possibilities | Part Two

She has been involved with SFU LEAD, Peer Programs and the SFU Muslim Students’ Association, just to name a few. Now, Sana Siddiqui, a Criminology student, reflects back and shares with us the invaluable academic, personal and professional skills and opportunities volunteering opened for her, read on to find out what she has to say about getting involved on campus and in the community.

Two friends talking
library_books
Blog
The Art of Conversation
Professional Development, Personal Development, Public Speaking, Interviews, Networking, Information Interviews, Intercultural Communication

Interacting with others happens on a daily basis, whether it is at a business meeting, presentation, or an informal conversation with a friend or co-worker.  Mastering this skill can lead to better relationships between co-workers, friends and clients.

Two friends talking
library_books
Blog
The Art of Conversation
Professional Development, Personal Development, Public Speaking, Interviews, Networking, Information Interviews, Intercultural Communication

Interacting with others happens on a daily basis, whether it is at a business meeting, presentation, or an informal conversation with a friend or co-worker.  Mastering this skill can lead to better relationships between co-workers, friends and clients.

Two friends talking
library_books
Blog
The Art of Conversation
Professional Development, Personal Development, Public Speaking, Interviews, Networking, Information Interviews, Intercultural Communication

Interacting with others happens on a daily basis, whether it is at a business meeting, presentation, or an informal conversation with a friend or co-worker.  Mastering this skill can lead to better relationships between co-workers, friends and clients.

Two friends talking
library_books
Blog
The Art of Conversation
Professional Development, Personal Development, Public Speaking, Interviews, Networking, Information Interviews, Intercultural Communication

Interacting with others happens on a daily basis, whether it is at a business meeting, presentation, or an informal conversation with a friend or co-worker.  Mastering this skill can lead to better relationships between co-workers, friends and clients.

Two friends talking
library_books
Blog
The Art of Conversation
Professional Development, Personal Development, Public Speaking, Interviews, Networking, Information Interviews, Intercultural Communication

Interacting with others happens on a daily basis, whether it is at a business meeting, presentation, or an informal conversation with a friend or co-worker.  Mastering this skill can lead to better relationships between co-workers, friends and clients.

Two friends talking
library_books
Blog
The Art of Conversation
Professional Development, Personal Development, Public Speaking, Interviews, Networking, Information Interviews, Intercultural Communication

Interacting with others happens on a daily basis, whether it is at a business meeting, presentation, or an informal conversation with a friend or co-worker.  Mastering this skill can lead to better relationships between co-workers, friends and clients.

Two friends talking
library_books
Blog
The Art of Conversation
Professional Development, Personal Development, Public Speaking, Interviews, Networking, Information Interviews, Intercultural Communication

Interacting with others happens on a daily basis, whether it is at a business meeting, presentation, or an informal conversation with a friend or co-worker.  Mastering this skill can lead to better relationships between co-workers, friends and clients.

You Might Like These... Personal Development

Katherine smiling behind bushes
Phone Confidence

Is talking on the phone nerve-wracking for you?  You aren't alone.  Katherine offers some tips on how to be a better communicator through the phone.  

picture of lighting with the caption: lightning round tips
Tips for Co-op Lightning Round Success

While it is a stressful time in the semester with exams and final projects upcoming, it doesn’t need to be for Co-op students. A large number of students are placed during Lightning Round and it’s a great time to find out about positions you may not have previously considered.

Brandon
RebalanceMD Summer 2015: A New Approach to Total Musculoskeletal Care

Read about Brandon's role with RebalanceMD as he takes us on an educational journey about total musculoskeletal care.