There are certain phrases that you can use to continue a conversation, especially when the discussion you are having has turned awkward. Not very many people know the phrases but knowing them can help you turn things around just the way you want.
Pay A Compliment
It is quite easy to forget someone’s name within seconds of meeting them simply because, you may not have been listening or you were too busy thinking about what to say next.
One easy way to propel any conversation forward when this happens is to open with flattery. When you meet someone for the first time, Pay that person a compliment when repeating their name.
This can help to embed their names deeper into your memory. For instance, if you compliment Rebecca on her necklace, you instantly prime your brain to recall her name the next time you see that necklace.
Everyone enjoys flattery, so that compliment can go a long way toward you being remembered as well.
Use The Sympathy Card
Phrases like “that sounds hard” can do incredible magic. Nearly everyone in the world believes their job to be difficult, and corroborating them can do wonders to a conversation.
Seek Their Opinion
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.”
In other words, if you ask someone for advice or a favour and they oblige you, they will be psychologically primed to like you and help you again. As such, if you truly want to endear yourself to a stranger and show them you value their mind, ask for their advice on something.
If they give it to you, they get to feel important and valued—and you might just learn something in the process.
Research shows that in conversations with unfamiliar people, we tend to rate the experience based on our own performance, not theirs.
So, how do you give your conversation partner the pleasure of a good conversation? Ask them questions—a lot of questions, and ones that will not require monosyllabic answers.
Avoid work if you can; instead, ask about play—”What keeps you busy outside of work?” or “What has the highlight of your year been so far?” Questions like this allows the person to show you their best and, if her highlight includes a topic you’re interested in too, thus will turn the awkwardness to something so interesting that it may lay the groundwork for a true friendship.
Try To Make Their Day Better
If your conversation partner isn’t in the mood for small talk, make things even easier for them by asking a question like “On a scale of one to ten, how was your day?” Anyone can think of a number between one and ten, and this makes it even easier for them to elaborate on their answer as they go.
After they respond, ask them, “Is there anything I can do to move you from a six to a seven (or a three to a four, etc.)?” You’d be surprised how happy this little gesture will make someone. This is what good listeners do in daily conversations.
Be Graceful With Your Exit
When your conversation reaches a natural conclusion, end things by saying “I won’t keep you” or “Give my regards to [mutual acquaintance]”. However, note that context can provide you the perfect exit strategy.
If you’re at a party, excuse yourself to get a drink; if you’re at work, you can leave to get some coffee. You can also say, ‘It’s nice talking to you, but I have to talk to someone before they leave.’”