Ahhh, flirty conversation; the fine art of give and take, the charming bouquet of witty banter, the dancing flow of energy. It can be such an appealing encounter of opposing forces, like a glass of chilled white wine or a cold beer on a hot summer day. Something so natural and fun should be easy, right? Sadly, this seemingly easy interaction turns many of us into a stuttering, boring wreck. Thankfully, the art of conversation can be learned and excelled at. The following series will help you avoid awkwardness, have more control over your desired results, & enhance those linguistical skills.
Curiosity isn’t just for the cat
If you’re just now developing your conversational prowess, or you want to build on the skills you already have, curiosity could be your very best friend. The core purpose of curiosity is being able to genuinely and consciously focus your attention away from yourself and onto another person, activity, or interest. Here are two ways to cultivate and sustain a spirit of curiosity:
#1. Listen to Learn*
To begin, curiosity, and therefore great conversation, can be enhanced with developing different listening skills. That seems obvious, right? Sadly, most of us focus on ourselves when we listen to others, which is counterproductive to great conversation. Great listening is about truly listening to what the other person is saying, and not getting distracted by trying to figure out what you’re going to say next. We have natural tendencies that stand in our way, though.
These natural styles can be limiting to flirty, relational conversation. Listening to Learn means changing your listening focus. Instead of what’s the point or problem, you’d ask yourself “What am I learning about this person, right now?” Cultivate curiosity about what your object of attention is saying about themselves.
Lana appears to have no curiosity in Archer.
- Imagine putting a piece of invisible duct tape over your mouth so you don’t interrupt. Don’t make it weird or awkward, but really avoid jumping in.
- Bring your attention to what the other person is saying.
- As you’re listening consider what you’re learning about their character, values, goals, dreams, etc…
- Repeat back what you learned.
ex. “So, from what you said, financial stability is important to you…” “It sounds like you’re really passionate about your kids having a good education…” “I’m impressed by your ambition to follow your dream of…”
This process can take some practice, but if you can change your natural way of listening to Listen to Learn*, you’ll learn a whole lot about the other person (stuff you want to know anyway), you’ll be able to find common ground on almost any subject, and you’ll cause the other person to feel heard, which can only help in your pursuit, bonus!
#2. Be a Curious-About-Life Person
Along with being curious about the person you’re talking to, developing a sense of curiosity about the world and your own personal interests will make you a more interesting person and therefore a better conversationalist. Exploring the world around you, keeping an open-mind, and taking the time to do something out of your normal routine will all help in giving you stimulating things to talk about.
- Sign up for a news RSS feed for quick browsing of interesting stories.
- Subscribe to a podcast.
- Try a new way of eating/cooking.
- Always wanted to take a trip to a foreign destination? Look up interesting trivia about the location.
- Develop a hobby, and do research about it, so that you’re informed and can express your passion for it.
Being curious enhances many areas of life – conversation, confidence, character – and has the added benefit of making you a more well-rounded and interesting person, which in turn will make you more attractive to others. And, that’s the ultimate goal, right?
*Listen to Learn is a process developed and shared by Alison Armstrong
Stay tuned for the next article in this 3 part series. Next up: Cultivate Openness.
About the Author: Amber is a Licensed Professional Counselor and her goal is to help others become the best versions of themselves that they can be. When she’s not helping motivated clients reach their goals, she moonlights as the graphics guru here at Dappered.