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The Art of Listening; How to have a good conversation with anyone

I write about self-improvement and how you can enjoy the journey to becoming a better version of yourself.


Why most people suck at conversations

So tell me, have you been in a situation like this -

You are at a new place, whether it be a party or a family gathering and someone comes up to you to for a chat.

But you notice that after some time they get uninterested and slowly backs out, or it's the other way; like you get really bored speaking to someone.

Now tell me, has this happened to you. Have you ever wondered why this is?

No, it's not about being confident or saying the right words at the right time.

What I'm going to say might surprise some of you, but it actually is the keystone in any good conversation and that is the ability to listen, and that's basically it.

To be able to listen to someone and to pay full attention to what they have to say is one skill that most people including me really need to work on.

This art of listening or this openness to hear what the other person has to say is key in every conversation because it makes the other person feel wanted and loved; and as humans, we are all basically drawn to people who make us feel good.

So in this article, I will share with you some things you need to keep in mind that will help you not make any mistakes in the future.


1. Let them talk

OK, this might seem obvious, since we are talking about active listening but it's something that we do without knowing and that is not letting them finish what they're saying.

As common sense, we all know interrupting is rude, but still, we do this because of our innate urge to say something or maybe it's just the way you are.

But think about it, would you be cool with it if someone didn't let you finish while you were sharing something important with you.

You'd be pissed off, right? So the next time you're in a conversation, and they are saying something with interest hold yourself back for a moment and let them finish.

It gives the other person a feeling of being heard and we all know how bad we all try to be heard.

2.Eye contact

They say eyes are the windows to our souls and I believe this couldn’t be more true when it comes to speaking to someone. It shows that you are being honest with them and also makes you appear confident and also that you care about the person.

When we keep a good amount of eye contact, it shows that you are actively participating in the conversation and you are valuing what the other person has to say.

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But there’s one important thing to keep in mind cause you don’t want to overdo it and make it a staring contest.

You can manage this by the 80/20 rule. It's something that I came up with but I assure you it works like a charm

What this rule is about is that when you are speaking to someone for 80 percent of the time keep good eye contact with them, and occasionally take your eye away and look away.

See this will give you time to process and let off some steam if you are not so good with eye contact. As an additional benefit, this will also keep your eye contact natural as we don't want to start a staring contact like my friend down here


3. Use body language

I remember I was reading it similar article earlier in which the author starts off by this saying- "You won't become a good listener just by having a set of ears."

Then I thought to myself, isn't it true? We humans, our brains are naturally designed to pick up non-verbal cues and gestures and over the years we have become pretty good at it.

So even with a little hand gesture, you are unconsciously speaking large volumes to your speaker. So what I'd advise you is to use little hand movements while in conversations and try to keep an open body language.

Check out this Ted talk that tells why your body language is crucial, I believe this video is a must-watch for anyone who's trying to brush up their communication skills.

4. Let go of Small Talk

Small talk can be a good way to initiate a conversation, break the ice, and most importantly avoid awkward silences. But we should remember that there's a point where you gotta let go of your small talk

But first, let's look at what is small talk- It's a collection of very obvious questions and responses we've developed as a society in order to aid in our everyday conversations

As mentioned above it can be useful at times, but if we don't allow the conversation to transition from the usual small talk to much more deep questions it's going to become a boring conversation.

So imagine you talking to someone. You start by asking about the event and other obvious things like the weather or news. But if you go on with that for a long time it will never get you knowing them or having a good conversation.

So after you had your fair share of small talk let yourself and the other person transition into much more meaningful and deeper topics, listen to them, and ask them questions, respond to what they are saying according to the situation.


5. Be Yourself

Let's get something straight, alright. Just by reading this article or watching some self-help videos on YouTube you won't become magically become a person with great communication skills.

But it's a journey and in order to get there, you have to start at this one and one thing right now.

That is- to become comfortable in who you are and feel good in your skin. I used to be very awkward in social situations and would usually don't attend where lots of people would gather, but over the last year or so I became less awkward and became much more outgoing and social.

The first thing I did was to change was how I viewed myself, I became comfortable with the way I talked, I found beauty in my insecurities that I was embarrassed by earlier, I embraced my own styles and outfits that I genuinely liked.

But all this confidence didn't just come to me one day. I worked on it every single day and put myself in more challenging situations and I gradually started to get better.

So that's my last and ultimate tip in order to become a good person who people would like to talk to.


Okay, now we've reached the end of this article, So I hope that you've got some useful stuff to communicate more effectively and I hope it helps.

It's not something set in stone so feel free to add your own tips and please also let me know in the comments below.

Being able to talk better is one of the core skills that you could develop and I know it's not easy and it takes a lot of time and energy but if you are putting your effort into it, I assure you that it will be worthwhile in the end.


© 2021 Jeevan Maria

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