If you want to engage in lively conversations, avoid these mistakes:
1. Ask too many questions. Pelting people with questions makes them feel like they are being interrogated.
2. Don’t ask enough questions. If you are just sitting there waiting on your chance to speak without digging deeper into what the other person said, you come across as self-centered. The right balance? Comment on what the person just said, and then ask a question to keep the conversation rolling.
3. Make the other person do all the talking. Conversations are two-way. You must contribute by sharing your opinions, experiences, feedback and insight. If you don’t, you could seem bored or apathetic. Really listen to what people have to say. If you do, responding to them will come naturally.
4. Insist on steering the conversation back to your topic of choice. You will bore people quickly if you want to stay on one topic too long, if you make the conversation all about you or you complain the whole time. Go with the flow of the conversation, and keep it positive.
5. Argue your point on every topic. Sometimes you just have to let things go for the sake of the group. Stop trying to “win” every conversation, and move on.
6. Monopolize the conversation. Offer everyone a chance to speak. Don’t interrupt people when they are speaking, and never hijack a story before it’s finished just so you can add your input.
—Adapted from “Do You Make These 10 Mistakes in a Conversation?,” Henrik Edberg, The Positivity Blog, www.positivityblog.com.