Deep and genuine conversations beyond the surface level are always enjoyable and fulfilling. Making way for these types of conversations can be difficult, but here is some advice on starting deeper conversations with people, not just small talk.
Ask open-ended questions
Open-ended questions are a great way to start a meaningful conversation. These questions require a longer answer and not just a yes or no. Instead of asking questions with a yes or no answer, try asking questions that will open doors for more detailed conversation. Be genuinely interested in asking the other person or people involved in the conversation follow-up questions. Open-ended questions will allow someone to dive deeper into detail and give out more information, and you’ll be able to learn more about the person.
Learn how to be an active listener
Active listening is taking time to hear and fully understand what another person is saying. An essential part of a meaningful conversation is actively listening to what the other person is saying. Avoid interruptions while the other person is talking and pay attention to what they’re saying. Good listening without zoning out is critical to a deep conversation. It’s okay to remain silent for the other person to speak to ensure a two-way conversation. Part of listening is being a non-judgemental listener as well, avoiding giving uncalled-for advice mid-conversation.
Be mindful of your body language
Good eye contact and positive body language reflecting your attention are essential for a meaningful conversation. Suppose you’re looking elsewhere or appearing disinterested, fidgeting around and not making eye contact with the people you’re conversing with. In that case, it can affect the other person’s level of interest. Show through your physical reactions that you are interested in the conversation, maintain good eye contact, nod in acknowledgement and show friendly signs of engagement, such as smiling. If you appear relaxed and engaged, it prompts the other person to open up as well, building a bridge to an honest conversation.
Be present in the conversation
Often, when spending time and talking to people, there are multiple distractions, especially mobile phones and social media . Paying attention to your phone screen or having your mind elsewhere will hinder an honest and engaged conversation. Eliminate any distractions and keep your focus on the discussion at hand. The conversation will be more appreciated and fulfilling if all parties are focused.
Keep the conversation going
Make an effort to continue the conversation. You can keep asking other questions or talk about similar interests. A meaningful discussion stems from a two-way attempt, so ensure that you’re contributing equally and don’t expect other people to put all the effort into the conversation.
Ask for genuine feedback
You can also ask for constructive criticism from your friends and family to improve your communication overall. Learn where you can improve to have more engaged conversations. Ask if you have any conversational habits that might be off-putting to other people. Once you work on your communication skills, you’ll have a better chance of having more significant conversations.
If you want to create more meaningful bonds through communication, I hope this advice helps you bring purposeful conversation into your life.