We all have conversations every day.
A good conversation is like a game of catch, where there is steady back and forth flow among the parties involved.
Unfortunately, we’re not all born natural conversationalists. We still fall prey to the most common conversation mistakes every now and then.
Sometimes you might get lucky and it goes unnoticed, but there are also times when the scenario is less forgiving and it makes you want to disappear into the ground.
Like the time you thought your date was talking about their child but it turns out they were talking about a pet the entire time! (if only you paid more attention!)
Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can keep you up for days.
Especially on dates, when the stakes are high, and there’s just the two of you around. Being affable in conversation can make you effable if you catch our drift 😉
Luckily, great conversational skills can be developed!
Yes! With a little practice and being mindful of the list of conversation mistakes you should avoid below, you will be an imperturbable social butterfly in no time!
- Conversation mistakes you should avoid to prevent awkward silence
Conversation mistakes you should avoid to prevent awkward silence
1) Faking interest
When conversing with a person we like, we can talk for hours, even days.
But when it comes to meeting a random aunty/uncle at the hawker centre, you just want it to end.
Expectedly, conversations flow easier and become less forced when you are interested in the person or at least have an interest in the topic being discussed.
Next time you feel yourself zoning out of a dull conversation, shift your focus to how the other person might be feeling instead, rather than just paying attention to the surface of the conversation.
2) Speaking without listening
We already know that conversation is a two-way street. A person says something to you, you listen, digest it, come back with a reply, and the process repeats.
If you are just in a conversation for your views to be heard, and you don’t really care about listening to what the other parties have to say, you probably won’t have anyone to talk to soon enough.
Active listening is a technique you can use to avoid making this common conversation mistake.
It is a pattern of listening that keeps you engaged in a conversation by listening attentively, reflecting on what was said, and biting your tongue from giving unwanted judgements or advice.
3) Discussing awkward topics with someone new
You may be comfortable talking about your bowel movements or bodily fluids, but the person you’re talking to might not be.
When talking to someone new, it’s best to stay away from topics that are TMI (too much information) or sensitive topics such as politics, religion, or sexuality to prevent any awkwardness.
4) Don’t be a smarty-pants
You’re not giving a Ted Talk or a lecture, you’re having a conversation!
Even if you’ve watched a ton of videos or read some articles on cryptocurrency, it doesn’t automatically make you an expert on the subject.
Even if you are an expert, conversations are about giving others a chance to share their thoughts instead of a one-man(or woman) show.
5) Asking too many distracting questions
Asking questions during a conversation is a good sign. It shows that you have interest and you want to keep the dialogue going.
Nevertheless, a common mistake in conversations is also asking too many questions.
Not only does it make the conversation seem more like an interrogation, but it can also derail the person telling the story as you pivot the subject from one topic to another.
6) Don’t ramble
We’re all guilty of rambling at times. Sometimes it’s the nerves or the social anxiety, or both.
Rambling typically happens when you are caught off guard, and it doesn’t help if you want to get a point across because people tend to tune you out when you stop making sense.
To prevent rambling, preparation and practice give you the confidence to express yourself better.
The next time the spotlight is on you, take your time, breathe, compose yourself, and then reply. Remember, it’s good to have short pauses in a conversation because it shows that you are interested in what they have to say, and you are taking the time to think it through before replying to them.
7) Don’t hog the spotlight
Everyone enjoys talking about themselves. But unless you’re preaching to someone who’s smitten by you, it’s likely that you will be left talking alone at centre stage.
When it comes to having a good conversation, leave the bragging at the door.
Better yet, inject positivity into the conversation by teeing others up and giving them a boost of confidence! Positive vibes are contagious, and you will be leaving the conversation feeling pumped!
8) Eye contact
Eye contact is an essential part of conversations.
However, there is a limit to the amount of rigorous eye contact that a dialogue (or a person) can handle before it starts coming off as ‘weird’ or even stand-off-ish.
A general tip is to gently switch your focus from one of your conversation partner’s eyes to the other. Doing this will keep you focused on the person while facilitating a natural flow.
9) Don’t pretend
Pretending to know something you don’t in a conversation can only lead to awkwardness and embarrassment when the other person(s) wants to dwell on the topic.
Admitting you don’t know something doesn’t make you seem less knowledgeable. In fact, it’s a great way to keep the conversation going while learning something new.
Plus, you don’t know how well-versed your conversation partner is on the subject. Pretending and faking it will only make you look silly, while the conversation runs stale.
10) Phones away
You know you’re engaged in a good conversation when you can’t seem to remember when was the last time you checked your phone.
Tucking away your phone during a conversation is a sign that you are invested in the conversation. Unless it’s an emergency, the buzzes and rings in your pocket can wait!
11) Negative body language
Conversations are not just about the words that come out of your mouth, it’s also about body language.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, we sometimes give off the wrong signals with negative body language such as crossing our arms, lack of eye contact, constantly looking around, or getting too close for comfort.
12) Don’t start an argument
Whenever someone says something that contradicts your beliefs, the most amicable decision is to agree to disagree.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, which are shaped by their own life experiences and perspectives.
Arrogance isn’t something you want to bring into a conversation. Be humble, and keep it light.
We’re all guilty of at least one of the common conversation mistakes listed above, and that’s okay!
At the very least, you’ve taken the very first step to developing better conversational skills which are realising your conversational blunders.
Now, all that’s left is to practice avoiding these mistakes by having as many provocative and stimulating conversations as you possibly can!
Don’t have anyone to practice with? Here’s a bonus idea from us:
Visit Sugarbook, set up a date(or two), and get to practicing!