Have you ever found yourself speaking to someone who:
- Holds eye contact completely naturally?
- Has a voice that maintains its clarity from a dozen feet away?
- Speaks in carefully crafted, articulate sentences?
- Exudes confidence with their charisma and body language?
Well, you were probably speaking with an engaging communicator.
Engagement. It’s the mark of a true conversationalist.
It’s also what transforms simply ‘talking,’ into ‘having a conversation. An engaging communiator emanates confidence.
And as I’m sure you’ve heard all your life—confidence is attractive. I remember at an early age being fascinated by confidence and why some people have it and other’s don’t.
And some 15 years later, I’m still blogging about it!
How Can I Teach Myself To Be Engaging?
Engagement is not something you’ll pick up overnight. Most charismatic people you come across have been been implementing these techniques for most of their lives. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t nail it right away.
If you want to ramp up the quality of your conversations and become an engaging conversationalist yourself, you should observe and practice the following:
1. Find Your Confidence – Not Cockiness
Yes, there’s a difference. A lot of people associate the two as being one and the same, but it’s not the case. In fact, while most cocky folks are, indeed, overly confident, it’s possible to be confident without being arrogant and entitled.
We’ve listed confidence first here as it’s really the first thing you need to nail down. But why? Well, it’s something that is quickly assessed by others through your actions and words.
Confidence demonstrates that you’re comfortable in your own skin, which attracts people and holds their attention.
But what if you’re not a confident person?
Fake it ‘til you make it!
Lots of successful people have sworn by this phrase, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Pretend that you’re more confident than you actually are. People will respond to your more positively, and in turn, this will feed your self-assurance.
Soon, you won’t be faking it at all. Yep, you’ll have made it.
2. Practice Mindfulness
You need to be ‘in the moment’ in order to have great conversation.
The state of mindfulness is beneficial to every activity a person could possibly hope to accomplish.
Mindfulness is the backbone of spiritual practices. It’s a state of awareness, presence, and willingness to accept the present moment for what it is, not what it could be.
Most often, those who are not mindful find themselves getting lost in their own heads.
They are already searching for a response before the speaker has even finished their sentence. This may be effective at keeping a conversation going, but you’ll find that mindfulness breeds more authentic responses.
This brings us to our next point…
3. Be Authentic, And Proud Of It
People are attracted to authenticity. They’re drawn to ‘real’ people.
People are more trusting and willing to open up with people who do the same.
If you’re used to putting a guard up, this habit can take a little while to break. Put yourself into more conversations. Say hello to people you’d otherwise walk right past.
Remember, each missed conversation is a lost opportunity to practice.
4. Be Enthusiastic – Not Just About Your Own Words
Who wants to listen to someone who isn’t excited about what they have to say?
If someone starts a story by yawning and saying, “I guess it was kind of interesting,” then it’s going to sound only “kind of interesting”. The same story, told with an energetic cry of “this was incredible,” raises excitement and thus people are more drawn to what you’re saying.
That comes across a little silly, but you get what I mean.
Believe in yourself. Support your morals and thoughts. Hold onto the idea that everyone else is as interested in your hobbies as you are. That way, you’ll speak to everyone with the same vigor as if you were talking to your best friend.
Ask interesting questions to prompt new conversation hooks. People love to talk about themselves. Importantly though, you should only ask questions that you care about the answer to. Try “what are your passions?” rather than “do you come here much?”.
Make more statements. To practice, try to ask only one question in your first five minutes of meeting someone new. This allows the conversation to flow more naturally (and feel less like an interview) and doesn’t put as much pressure on the other person.
Listen To The People You’re Engaging With!
This rings true for both sides – to fully engage, you must be enthusiastic about everyone’s contributions to the conversation.
This is most important as it’ll allow you to truly stay in the moment.
5. Open Your Mind, Step Outside The Box
A key trait of someone who can engage audiences for long periods of time is curiosity and open-mindedness.
What reason is there for you to engage someone who refuses to adopt new viewpoints or ideas?
Open-mindedness isn’t the willingness to believe anything that’s thrown at you. It’s the ability to change or update your opinions and beliefs based on new evidence.
Open-minded people aren’t naive, they’re adaptable. They aren’t so stubborn as to be unable to change their opinions when faced with hard evidence.
Apply Your Engaging Techniques!
Now you just need to find people to practice with. Put yourself in situations where you can have more conversations. Don’t just say hello to that cashier, follow it up with a statement or question to get the conversation going.
Try to have more conversations tomorrow than you did today. Every day. You’ll be talking your way to the top in no time.