How to communicate with people
Contributor(s): Cher Gopman. Cher Gopman is the founder of NYC Wingwoman LLC, a New York City-based dating coaching company. NYC Wingwoman matches couples, helps them meet, provides one-on-one coaching services, and organizes weekend intensive classes. Cher is a certified personality coach and former psychiatric nurse. Her work has been featured in Inside Edition, Fox, ABC, VH1 and The New York Post.
Number of sources used in this article: 8. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.
Number of views of this article: 46 851.
Communicating with people you don’t know very well is probably a difficult task for you, especially if you’re not a fan of short, superficial conversations. However, if you want to get to know people better, you need to practice. Talking to people in a certain social environment can be the beginning of a long and deep relationship. A young man you meet at a party may become your best friend, and a woman you meet at a business dinner may offer you a good job. You can never reach your goal if you just stand in the corner!
- Don’t show others that you are looking for people you know. Other people should not think that you are only socializing with people you know. In other words, make sure that others do not think that you only want to communicate with one person you know. Look around the room you are in in a calm and relaxed manner. See if any familiar faces are present in the room you are in.
- If you see a familiar person talking to someone, wait a moment. Then, when he is free, make eye contact with him and approach him.
- You may feel uncomfortable, but remember that this is common at parties and similar events. Most people will be friendly and happy to get to know you.
- If you encounter unfriendly people, you can politely apologize and try to find friendlier company.
- Avoid people who look like they are having a heated one-on-one discussion about something. You risk provoking an awkward silence with your appearance. Observe the body language of these people. This will help you determine whether you should approach them. If they are facing you, actively gesturing, and maintaining eye contact, it is better not to approach them.  X Source of Information
- If the person approaches you, be polite and friendly.
- Put your phone aside. Very often people who feel uncomfortable in the company of strangers pretend to be busy looking at messages on their phone. Try to avoid doing this. Otherwise, others may think you don’t want to communicate with them.  X Reliable Source Pew Research Center Go to Source
- Stand where many people gather, such as at the food table, by the bar, by the huge ice sculpture in the center of the room. Thanks to this you will always have a topic of conversation.  X Reliable Source Pew Research Center Go to Source
- If you are talking to someone and the other person approaches you, include them in the conversation! Don’t be unfriendly.
- Ask someone you know to introduce you to other people. Don’t be shy when you meet new people.
Talk to different people. It’s hard to say with whom you can find common ground. So try to get to know and talk to different people. Just don’t overdo it, don’t make it your goal to meet every person at the party. You will have already accomplished a lot if you meet and chat with only one person. Maybe next time you will talk to two or three people who are new to you.
How do you communicate with people? 6 Awesome Conversation Tips + Tips on What to Ask to Get Your Interlocutor Interested
Want to communicate freely with people, but have a lump in your throat when you try to talk to others? Have you repeatedly missed your stop on the bus because you were too embarrassed to ask the driver to stop? Do you think you’ll never be able to approach someone you like and strike up a conversation? Read our guide on how to talk to people and do it!
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From this article you will learn:
How to be an interesting conversationalist?
Probably everyone has a buddy who has an amazing gift of communication. I have such a friend Julia – moderately pretty and moderately well-read fellow student. I was terribly jealous of her. Where I was timid and silent, she smiled and made friends with everyone: classmates, teachers, and the janitor Maria Stepanovna.
What made me different from Julie? Maybe the ability to communicate is an inborn talent, which I am deprived of? I turned to two experts: Catherine Galchuk, public speaker, head of the school and diplomacy “Dispute”, and the psychologist and consultant of the crisis center 812 Ekaterina Zhulanova with three questions:
- How to learn how to communicate?
- How to become charming?
- What magic do you need to learn to be an interesting interlocutor?
It turns out there is no magic. And no secret techniques – either.
First, a little motivation. Experts believe that the ability to communicate – the key to social success. A man who knows how to build communication with colleagues and superiors, moves up the career ladder faster, receives bonuses more often, participates in the most interesting and profitable projects. And even in case of a mistake he will receive not shouting and fines, but sympathy and an offer of help.
Charming people are successful not only at work, but also in their personal lives. This is not surprising: it’s hard to have any kind of personal life if you don’t know how to communicate. So, if you want to:
- Become more successful at work;
- Build a harmonious relationship with your family and loved ones;
- Make a lot of nice and useful social connections;
- Live a rich life surrounded by good people.
Become an interesting conversationalist. And here’s how you can do it, and how to communicate with people in general.
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What are they – interesting conversationalists?
It turns out that an interesting conversationalist is a person who has three key traits:
- Ability to listen.
- The ability to improvise.
- A love of life.
Let’s break it down in order. By “listening skills,” experts mean a keen interest in another . People like to talk about themselves. But if everyone is focused only on himself, it is unlikely that between people engage in an interesting rich conversation.
The golden rule is that one speaks and the other listens.
Improvising is the ability to sustain a conversation on any topic. Flying to Mars, early Fitzgerald, the foreign policy of North Korea-you can’t know in advance what your opponent is interested in. But you don’t have to. If his field of interest does not touch yours, but you are interested in this person, it is enough to say, “I don’t know anything about it, but I am very interested. Tell me more!”.
And this is where the ability to love life and take an active interest in it comes in handy. Simply put, keep your curiosity. Read, watch movies, flip through the news. Develop yourself in areas that make you “burn”. This will make you attractive to others, and at the same time tell you how to communicate with them.
Obstacles in your way.
Even if you consider yourself a good listener and have a broad outlook, it does not mean that you will easily understand how to communicate with this or that person. First, some people have to conquer the “inner monster”: self-centeredness.
Fear of communicating is the same fear of being rejected, thoughts of the “what will they think of me?” kind. The secret is not to think about yourself. You need to think about the person you’re talking to. What’s interesting to him? What excites him? What mood is your opponent in? Shift your attention from yourself to the people around you – and you won’t have time to worry.
How to learn to communicate with people: tips from psychologists
As we found out, an interesting interlocutor develops three qualities. The ability to listen, the ability to improvise or maintain a conversation on any topic, and the love of life.
How to develop the ability to listen?
Listen to the other person actively. In psychology, active listening refers to the method of demonstrating attention to your opponent. You give the person a “live connection”, he understands that his words and emotions are important to you.
The basic techniques of active listening:
- Pauses. When the person pauses in his or her story, don’t start a new topic right away. This will give time to reflect on his story, to add to the story.
- Clarifications. Ask questions for clarification. For example, they tell you that they were at the concert of their favorite band. You can ask where the event took place, what they liked, what songs were played, how many years the interviewer was a fan of the performer, and so on. Show a keen interest.
- Open-ended questions. There are closed questions, to which you can answer “yes” or “no,” and open questions, to which you must give a detailed answer. Let’s go back to the concert example. You might ask, “Did you like it?” and get a “Yes” answer. Or ask “What did you like best?” and find out that the performance had the perfect sound, the bassist played a phenomenal solo, and the vocalist looked exactly like first love.
- Retelling and communicating perceptions. Repeat in your own words your interlocutor’s phrases and reflect his emotions in the conversation. That way he’ll know you’re really listening. “So the vocalist looks like Vovka, who you had a crush on in fifth grade? You must have been surprised and excited!”
It’s not that hard, is it?
How do you expand your horizons?
Listening is learned, the second point is to learn how to keep the conversation going on different topics.
Right now, take a piece of paper or open notes on your smartphone. Write down the areas that interest you.
You’d be surprised how many topics you can hold a conversation on right now! It’s enough to refresh your knowledge periodically in the areas you’re really interested in. You’ll have a good outlook, and you’ll be able to figure out how to communicate when it comes to your favorite topic.
How to learn to communicate with people: exercises
Now here’s the bad news. There are no exercises for developing communication skills. But don’t get upset. To learn how to communicate you need (drum roll!) … to communicate. Do not throw stones at me – I learned from the experts how to do it. Let’s call our exercise “Developing Communication Skills.
The purpose of the exercise: to communicate with as many people as possible until it becomes as natural a process as breathing.
Methodology: every day we interact with a large number of people. These are our homes, friends, coworkers, salespeople, and those lucky people who call to offer us credit or ask our opinion on the quality of the connection. From this day forward, think of them all as your helpers in developing your communication skills.
Wake up. Ask your partner what he or she dreamed about. What are his plans for the day. What he plans to eat for lunch. Ask the kids if they like the weather, what cartoon series they’re watching and what’s going on. In the office, listen to what your coworkers are talking about. Connect to the conversation. Ask clarifying and leading questions. Use active listening techniques, and be happy when it works! In the evening, have a conversation with the salesperson. Ask him how the day is going. Thank them for their good service.
- Advanced Level Technique: Start honing your skills on close people and friends. But gradually learn to strike up a conversation with strangers. For example, with your neighbor in line, with the pretty girl at the movie theater, with the owner of the dog you’ve always wanted to pet, but didn’t dare. Yes, it is scary. Yes, you will probably feel uncomfortable. To relieve the discomfort:
- Slowly breathe with your belly.
- Smile (this will give you pep and confidence).
- Don’t concentrate on yourself, think about the other person and what you want to get out of the communication.
Safety tip: When practicing your communication skills, remember that not everyone is always open to communication. It is not worth approaching a person if he looks gloomy and irritable, busy with other things. In addition to the skill of communication, it is desirable to develop empathy or emotional intelligence – the ability to feel the mood of others. But this is a topic for a separate article. How often to do the exercise: every day, as often as possible.
How to communicate with people at work?
Successful business communication is based on three pillars:
- Respect for colleagues and superiors.
- The ability to set boundaries and say “no”.
- The ability to resolve conflicts.
Respectful attitude is, first of all, avoiding gossip. Do not participate in “backstabbing games”, do not express your opinion about a colleague or his work to third parties. The collective often works according to the principle of a “broken telephone”: your words can be distorted, and it is no longer possible to explain their true meaning, and your colleagues will do so:
Second rule: Learn to say no. Do not overstep your own principles in order to make friends or be in good standing with your superiors. How to say “no” and not to offend the interlocutor? Avoid straining the relationship can be achieved if you explain your refusal. For example, say “no, sorry, I can not stay longer today, because I have an important meeting. Although you have the right to say “no” and without giving any reasons.
With the first points everything is clear, let’s move on to the third. Avoid conflicts at work is almost impossible: In any team may have misunderstandings. What should you do if you find yourself in the middle of a quarrel?
- Take a deep breath. Throughout the conflict, periodically return to slow abdominal breathing. This will help you keep a sober head, not get emotionally involved, and see the essence of the problem.
- Listen to your opponent and understand what he is not satisfied with. It is not always the interlocutor knows how to identify his needs. For example, if the boss is shouting down his subordinates, his real need is not to “blow off steam”, but to get the report on time, or to increase sales.
- Use “self-talk.” When you decide to speak up, refuse to use “you-speak.” That is, don’t say “you said you needed the report by Wednesday,” but “I understood you needed the report by Wednesday.” This defuses the conflict situation.
The use of “I-speak” is recommended by psychologists with any interlocutor, especially during a tense conversation. Not “you’re late,” but “I’m upset about the long wait.” Not “you promised” but “I was hoping that…”.
You can learn how to communicate in rhetoric courses. There you will not only remove the internal blocks that prevent you from freely expressing your thoughts and feelings, but also understand how to speak interestingly, brightly and figuratively, how to convey to the audience the essence of his speech and be understood.
Want to add useful books on confidence building to your home library and pump up your public speaking skills in your spare time?
Catch the 4 best bookstores with a great selection of books on communication:
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- Subscription Editions – bookstore with a large selection of the hottest literary novelties in the field of psychology and unusual book selections from famous people.
- Myth Publishing is a bookstore of quality popular science and scientific literature on psychology for all ages and interests.
Now you have everything you need to learn how to communicate with people. Don’t put it off – go right now and ask a colleague, friend or relative how his day is going.
Use the technique of active listening, gradually expand the circle of communication. You’ll get there!