Sometimes a conversation takes a different turn than you would like it to to. A discussion escalates or you are overwhelmed by your conversation partner before you can even state your argument. Do thoughts like ‘if I just had told them this, then…’ come to mind? Don’t feel bad about it, it happens to us all. So how do you make sure that you stay in control of your conversations? These 3 tips might help you:
1 Don’t answer every question
Asking questions is a way for other people to convince you and keep the lead in the conversation. Often you immediately start answering and get stuck half way in your own words or realize that the other is trying to put words in your mouth. Therefore, be aware of how you feel in a conversation. If you feel any resistance to answering a question, don’t do it or take a moment to think about your answer. Tell the other you want to think about it or that you’ll get back on it. Or you can ask the other person a question in return about the same subject.
You can always bluntly interrupt someone, but that will not always have a positive outcome on the atmosphere in the conversation. There are other ways to pause a conversation.. For example, you can give non verbal signals that you don’t agree with the other person, by shaking you head or take on a doubtful expression. This will make your conversation partner pause and ask for your opinion. Do you have the feeling that the other person is trying to take over the conversation? Change topic. This is an interruption of the conversation process and makes it easier for you to take the lead in the conversation again. The tables have turned.
Our brain is programmed to have full focus when we hear our name, even if someone mentions it on the other side of a crowded room (the cocktail party effect). Make use of this powerful attribute in a conversation and give someone a mini ‘brainshaker’; by saying their name. When you adress your conversation partner by name, you immediately have his full attention and the conversation becomes more personal instantly. You can draw someone away from his own story and emphasize what matters to you. Don’t go overboard though, too much namedropping seems forced and overeager to connect.