How to Talk to People When You Have Nothing to Say

Whether we’re a die-hard introvert or an extravagant
extrovert, there will always be those strange and awkward moments in a
conversation where we struggle to know what to say.

The
feeling of panic can arise as we desperately search for the right words
yet this usually causes that mental block of appropriate topics to talk
about.
So why exactly does this happen? Well it has
a tendency to happen when we aren’t so familiar with a certain person
or group of people. When you’re thrown into a conversation before common
ground has been found, it can be difficult to keep the interaction
going in a smooth and natural way because we’re not entirely confident
of what and what not to talk about.

How to Keep a Conversation Going With Someone You’re Unfamiliar With

Having
a few good techniques under your belt is essential for these exact
moments. It will not only help you socially, allowing you to forge
better building blocks for potential friendships, but also in
professional connections where networking is important.

Don’t Make ‘Being Interesting’ Your Goal

Many
people believe that for people to want to build some kind of
relationship, they must win them over with interesting or humorous chat.
In reality, this isn’t really the case. The interaction doesn’t have to be insightful for it to be meaningful. Don’t get caught up in the belief that what you have to say isn’t good enough – just say it anyway.
People
generally don’t remember what has been said in any given conversation,
just that an interaction has taken place. Don’t get hung up on
impressing them, just be yourself.

Let Them Talk about Themselves by Asking Good Questions

People
generally like to talk about themselves. Not because they’re
egotistical but because it’s a safe topic and one they obviously know
very well. Therefore, if you’re struggling to think of what to say
simply ask good questions.
Asking questions shows a
level of personal interest and causes the other person to feel cared
for. You do this by paying attention and observing the person to find
clues. For example, if they look particularly tired, ask them what they
did yesterday. If they have a certain item of clothing, mention you’ve
been looking for a similar item and ask where they got it from or can
they recommend where you can get one.
The key is to ask open-ended questions and get them talking rather than questions that elicit yes or no answers. This allows the person to elaborate more, keep the conversation going and helps you find more clues to their personality.

Have a Conversation About Food

The
point of this is to find a universal topic. Not everyone knows about
the latest technological advances or fashions but you know everyone has a
passion or at least an opinion on food.
If you’re
eating together it’s an easy way to start a conversation by simply
commenting on the food. Or expand by talking about different cuisines or
other foods you’ve tried. If you’re eating a meal later, asking or
suggesting what you should eat will always be a successful topic.
It’s all about finding that common ground and food is a perfectly simple and universal topic to bring up.

Simply Rephrase What They Say

Sometimes
conversations can wane if you can’t really relate to the topic they’re
talking about. If you have little knowledge on the subject it can be
hard to add your opinions and awkward silences can ensue.
A
good technique in this case, is to rephrase what the other person has
said. Not only does this show you’re interested and listening to what
they’re saying, but it gives them a chance to point out discrepancies or
be eager to tell you more because of your interest. 
If someone is
describing their complicated job to you or a profession you’re not
familiar with they may be well aware of your lack of knowledge. By
repeating what they say or asking for clarification, you’re creating a
sense of interest and rapport.

Share Small Things About Yourself

Sharing
things about yourself can seem unnatural to some – especially
introverts. However, sharing small things no matter how insignificant
will not only show the other person you want them to get to know you,
but it’s an easy conversation filler.
As mentioned before, it’s really not about what’s being said in a conversation that people remember.  
A
person is more likely to remember the feeling of an awkward silence
with you over a seemingly meaningless conversation about what you ate
yesterday or what new gadget you bought.
The
idea is to be confident in bringing up any topic. If you do sense
awkwardness, the other person will be more than grateful for your effort
in keeping the conversation going so don’t think too much about how
you’re coming across with your words.

Knowing it ‘All’ Doesn’t Make Someone a Great Conversationalist

Always
keep this in mind. While having a breadth of knowledge can make it
easier to converse with different types of people, it’s not necessary.

Know-it-alls
do have a tendency to dominate conversations which we all know can turn
people off. You’ll be much better off turning your knowledge to the
tips above and applying these fundamental rules to the conversations you
have. Remember you’re looking for flow and connection in a simple way.
Don’t overthink it.

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Updated: September 7, 2017 — 10:36 pm

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