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A gossip is one who talks to you about others; a bore is one who talks to you about himself; and a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself.

Lisa Kirk


Conversational skills are essential for establishing connections, nurturing relationships, and achieving success at work.  In addition, good conversationalists show genuine concern for others through their tone of voice and body language.  

Learning to be a better conversationalist can help business leaders share information with colleagues, friends, and family members more effectively.

Most people shy away from certain people during social occasions because they are boring, and talking to them is tedious. 

Conversely, there are other people who are a joy to talk to.  They are brilliant conversationalists who enliven the conversation and make excellent company.  

It is possible to be that good conversationalist with some good advice and practice.

Become a Better Conversationalist

Here are some pointers that will help.

Ask Questions

Most people prefer to talk about themselves rather than hear about you, so asking questions is a great way to start and refresh conversations.  

Always start by asking simple, non-threatening questions.  Then, as you get to know people better, you can ask more searching and interesting questions.  

And if you are in a group, throw out open-ended questions and by no means make declarative statements or talk about yourself.  


Great conversationalists are great listeners.  

People like good listeners – wouldn’t you rather speak with someone interested in what you had to say rather than someone who looked bored and indifferent?  

Also, when you listen, you learn.  Show that you are interested by asking questions that support and develop the conversation

Give Compliments

Pay compliments whenever you sincerely canFor example, if someone looks smart, has lost weight, or has a stylish new haircut, show that you have noticed by giving a genuine compliment.

Keep up to date on topical issues

You should be ready to comment with questions, ideas, facts, and opinions on the issues that other people are interested in.  If you know nothing about the topic, then open-ended questions will allow others to educate you – something most people love.  

Also, don’t be afraid to take an alternate position (within reason).  This will most likely lead to a fascinating conversation. 

Be Humorous

Witty comments tend to be spontaneous, clever, and unexpected, so being witty is not an easy skill to develop, but there are some things you can do.  

Observe witty people in action and see how they contribute.  Personal anecdotes relating to unusual experiences and misfortunes that befell you often go well.  And by all means, laugh at other people’s funny stories, even if you have heard them before.

Speak Clearly

Say what you have to say with clarity and enthusiasm.  Don’t mumble.  And use interesting metaphors and visual images.  But, by all means, keep your sentences short and to the point.  And don’t hog the floor.

Enjoy it

Be yourself, be natural, and don’t try to be anything that you are not.  

Approach the situation with a positive attitude and tell yourself that you are going to have a good time and meet some interesting people.  Relax, smile, and enjoy the occasion.

The Bible

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth (Corinthians) has much to say about being a conversationalist. 

You see, the church in Corinth had a communication problem.  They did not have a church building, so they would meet in one of the members’ homes.  So as a result, when outsiders attended, they did not know what was happening, and the church did not know how to talk to them.

Paul wrote,

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, ESV)

All seven of the previous pointers are contained in this verse.  Ask questions, listen, compliment, be current, funny, and enjoy what you are doing.

Some good advice never changes.

Few jobs allow us to not interact with other people.  Therefore, business leaders and entrepreneurs must be good conversationalists because other people, the ones we need to talk to, are the lifeblood of our business.  If not directly, they are the source to those who can affect our business.

Follow the Bible’s advice and practice being a good conversationalist.