Maybe you talk too much in conversation, or maybe you clam up. Either way, communication skills don't come naturally for everyone. For a better conversational flow, use the 50/50 ratio for talking and listening.
Picture: Matus Laslofi
Sometimes, it's hard to build a comfortable pace in a conversation. If you don't contribute, things can get awkward. And, if you share too much, the other person may be wondering when you'll shut up. Personal Development coach Celestine Chua suggests a pretty straightforward tip for managing this flow:
I always think that a great conversation should be made up of equal sharing by both parties. Sometimes it may be 40-60 or 60-40 depending on the circumstances, but by and large, both parties should have equal opportunities to share and contribute to the conversation. What this means is that you should be sensitive enough to pose questions to the other party if you have been talking for a while. It also means that you should take the initiative to share more about yourself if the other party has been sharing for the most part.
It's one of those things that sounds fairly obvious -- listen as much as you talk. But putting a number on it can serve as a good reminder next time you're engaged in a conversation. As Chua mentions, your ratio may vary. If you're a natural listener, you might adjust the numbers, but the point is, a conversation is about contributing and listening. If you have trouble getting the conversation going, we've got some tips for that. For more tips on improving your conversational skills, check out Chua's full post below.
Art of Conversing: Do You Meet these 10 Rules of a Great Conversationalist? [Personal Excellence]