Graduation parties, BBQs, neighborhood parks, open houses… All present opportunities for conversation. While entire books have been written about how to be a great conversationalist, a few short tips on what to avoid can also improve your game.
Here are three common “bad habits” you can lookout for during your next conversation:
Rule #1: Don’t share too much too soon. We all know that person. You’ve been chatting for two minutes and you already know she’s got Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is upside down on her car, and is thinking about divorcing her second husband. Yikes! Mind how much (and how intimate) information is you’re sharing. While longer conversations tend to lend themselves to greater degrees of intimacy (and that can be great!), pacing is they key.
Rule #2: Don’t be the “one upper.” Using other people’s shared stories to showcase your own achievements is tedious and reveals your insecurities. Just because you did run the New York Marathon in 3:45, don’t bring it up right after someone’s just revealed they finished their first 5K.
Rule #3: Don’t focus all of your attention on one person in a group. Sure, you may know that agent at the party from the five deals you’ve done together, but don’t freeze out the others by reverting to inside jokes and personal history. Give and take with many in the group; open up the conversation!