In a way, a conversation relies on improvisation — you take your knowledge and experience and, on the fly, mould it into something others can work with to add to the discussion. As improv coach Chris Gethard explains in this clip, boosting your off-the-cuff skills can make you a better communicator in general.
While the focus is on dramatic improvisation, the lessons apply just as well to everyday chats you might have with friends, family and even strangers:
The thing I always stress, that I think apply to any conversation, I always ask people these three questions when they're improvising: Why these people? Why right here? Why right now?
How do these questions apply to the average discussion? Gethard elaborates (using an improv scene as an analogy):
If you're in a scene and there's two people and you're talking about people that aren't here ... they probably aren't the most interesting thing for an audience to hear about. If you're talking about a different location than the one the scene is taking place in, then why isn't the scene unfolding there?
Gethard goes on to say that the more "present" — and hence, immediately relevant — your conversation is, the less your audience has to imagine and the more engaged they will be. Even if the "audience" is the person you've just met at a party.