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What to Do When a Conversation Runs Out of Steam?

Have you ever been in a conversation that seems to be going nowhere, and neither person seems to be able to think of anything to say? 

This happens a lot, especially when both people don’t really know each other.  It can also happen when both people are lacking in conversational skills.  They just don’t know how to get the conversation going again.  They aren’t good at making small talk and they don’t know how to find topics of mutual interest to discuss.

If two people don’t really know each other well, and the conversation starts to lag, the silence can feel very uncomfortable for both of them.  When the words run out and the silence begins, nobody really knows what to say to start the conversation going again.

You just have to find out what their favorite subjects are.

How do you do this? 

You have to ask questions, and you have to pay attention. When you ask a question, watch their response.  Do they suddenly seem interested in the topic?

Don’t just ask any kinds of questions.  There are some kinds of questions that can make a conversation stop, and there are some kinds of questions that can keep a conversation going.

The kind of question that doesn’t  really keep a conversation going is called a closed question.  A closed question can be answered with a simple one word answer, such as “yes” or “no”.

For example, if you ask the question, “Did you order the fish?”  That’s a closed question.  The other person will answer either yes or no.  That won’t give you a lot of basis for making more conversation unless you ask another question.

However, if you ask the kind of question called an open-ended question, you will probably get a lot more dialogue going.  An open question doesn’t just ask for a yes or a no.  An open question is one where you want a longer response, a response that has some thought behind it.

Here’s an example of an open-ended question, “Why did you decide to become a vegetarian?”  This will require a much longer answer than just one word.  It shows the other person that you are interested in learning more about them, yet it is not too invasive.  An open-ended question will give them a chance to talk about something which is important to them.

If you learn to use open ended questions effectively, you will find you can keep almost any conversation going. And you will discover that other people will enjoy speaking with you and you will make more friends.

This article was written by Royane Real, author of the popular report “Your Guide to Making Friendly Conversation” You can learn more ways to improve your conversation skills and be popular. Download it today at http://www.lulu.com/real

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