Here are my personal techniques to effortlessly transition from one conversation to another. This can be useful to progress from small talk to meaningful conversation.
Tip #1: When you want to discuss a random question or topic, be your own wingman by starting off with:
- “My friend asked a great question the other day” or, “my friend told me a great story the other day.”
This would be the best time to begin your story. Then redirect the conversation by asking for their input:
- “What are your thoughts?”
- “What do you think I should do in this situation?”
Tip #2: Begin your questions with “how” or “why” to encourage more storytelling responses:
- “Why did you decide to travel there?”
- “Why did you choose that career path?”
- “How has that experience or opportunity been like?”
The beauty of these questions lies in people’s responses. Contrary to simple yes or no answers which can halt a conversation altogether. Encourage thought-provoking interactions by avoiding questions such as “what is your job?” “what did you do there?”
Tip #3: Open the conversation with a personal or vulnerable story.
This is a great way to transition into difficult conversations. Keep in mind which area you would like to focus on. This can include anything on your mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being.
Remember to be cognizant of the other person by asking one of the following questions:
- “Have you had a similar experience?”
- “What have you been working on?”
- “What are you looking forward to?”
- “What have you been struggling with?”
Others are more likely to open up when you exemplify your own vulnerability.