Controlling the flow of conversation is more about listening and asking good questions than it is about talking about yourself.
Here’s how to ask effective questions and actively listen to move conversations your way.
The first is an open-ended invitation for the person to share details about themselves. The second is a closed “yes or no” question.
If you want to keep a conversation going try to ask open-ended questions to build rapport. These are usually questions that start with: what, when, why and how.
As the other person replies, actively listen to what they say in order to follow up with smart, curious questions and “bookmark” any useful information or funny in-jokes you can refer to later.
Now, while asking questions is great - that’s an interview. A conversation goes two ways. You can encourage the other person to ask you questions by offering them inspiration.
When you ask someone about their weekend, they will reply and then you can choose to ask a follow-up question, comment your thoughts about what they said, or offer up a story about your own weekend.
If you choose the last option you’re giving them a slice of inspiration. This creates the potential for a conversation to go both ways.
When you’re both sharing stories and finding common themes, the chat flows and the relationship between you will deepen.
A word of warning: use inspiration like chilli flakes 🌶 . Sprinkle them into the conversation but be careful it doesn’t backfire and seem like you’re always trying to shift the focus back to yourself.