Executive Communication Coaching

3 Simple Phrases That Make Every Conversation Less Awkward, According to a Communications Coach

Leadership Communication Archana Parmar

Conversations can sometimes be tricky to navigate, regardless of whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. Awkward pauses and moments of silence can make anyone feel uncomfortable, but they don’t have to. According to communications coaches, there are simple phrases that can seamlessly keep the flow of conversation going. Having these phrases at the ready can transform potentially awkward interactions into engaging and enjoyable discussions.

 1. “Tell me more about that.”

One of the most effective ways to keep a conversation going is to show genuine interest in what the other person is saying. The phrase “Tell me more about that” works wonders in this regard. It invites the speaker to elaborate on their thoughts, experiences, or feelings, showing that you value their input and are curious to hear more.

This phrase is powerful because it serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it gives the other person the floor, allowing them to feel heard and appreciated. Secondly, it provides you with additional context and information, which can lead to more meaningful and in-depth conversations. Finally, it takes the pressure off you to come up with something clever or insightful to say, allowing you to focus on being a good listener.

For example, if someone mentions a recent trip they took, instead of simply responding with “That’s nice,” you can say, “Tell me more about that trip.” This not only keeps the conversation alive but also encourages the other person to share their experiences and feelings, making the interaction richer and more enjoyable.

 2. “How does that make you feel?”

Another great phrase to have in your conversational toolkit is “How does that make you feel?” This question delves deeper into the emotional aspect of a topic, providing insight into the other person’s perspective and creating a more personal connection.

People often appreciate the chance to express their emotions and thoughts, especially if they feel someone is genuinely interested in understanding them. By asking this question, you show empathy and concern for their well-being, which can strengthen your relationship and build trust.

For instance, if a friend talks about a challenging situation at work, instead of offering immediate advice or changing the subject, you might ask, “How does that make you feel?” This demonstrates that you care about their emotional state and are willing to listen to their concerns, which can make the conversation more meaningful and less awkward.

 3. “What are your thoughts on this?”

The phrase “What are your thoughts on this?” is an excellent way to engage someone in a conversation, especially if you’re discussing a topic that requires opinions or perspectives. It invites the other person to share their viewpoint, making them feel valued and included in the discussion.

This question is particularly useful in group settings or during discussions on complex topics. It opens the door for different perspectives, fostering a more dynamic and interactive conversation. Additionally, it can help steer the conversation away from potential dead-ends or awkward silences by introducing new angles or ideas.

For example, if you’re at a social gathering and the conversation starts to lull, you can introduce a topic such as a recent news event, and then ask, “What are your thoughts on this?” This not only keeps the conversation going but also encourages everyone to contribute, making the interaction more lively and engaging.

 Why These Phrases Work

The effectiveness of these phrases lies in their ability to show genuine interest, empathy, and inclusiveness. They signal to the other person that you value their input and are invested in the conversation. Here’s why these phrases are particularly useful:

1. They Show Genuine Interest: By asking someone to elaborate or share their feelings, you demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. This can make the other person feel appreciated and respected.

2. They Encourage Deeper Conversations: These phrases prompt more detailed and thoughtful responses, leading to richer and more meaningful interactions. This can help you get to know the other person better and build stronger connections.

3. They Provide Direction: These questions can guide the conversation, preventing awkward silences and keeping the dialogue flowing smoothly. They can help steer the discussion towards topics that the other person is passionate about, making the conversation more engaging.

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, having a few key phrases ready can make a significant difference in your conversations. “Tell me more about that,” “How does that make you feel?” and “What are your thoughts on this?” are simple yet powerful tools that can help you navigate social interactions with ease and confidence.

By using these phrases, you can turn potentially awkward moments into opportunities for deeper connection and understanding.

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