A lot of people think starting or engaging in conversations is difficult. They see striking an interesting conversation as an arduous task. But you can keep a conversation interesting and meaningful by following these steps:
Choose a topic that will involve your listener(s): Some topics can be engaging and some can be turn-offs. During fuel scarcity, any discussion about getting fuel for one’s car can be very interesting. In attempting to start a conversation, get a topic that will interest everyone listening.
You must equally avoid topics that some of your listeners are experts in, that you have little or no knowledge about. Immediately you goof in your introductory remark, it is most likely a large section of your listeners will “switch off”.
Solicit for opinions: Don’t just talk about your own experience or what you know. Except you interested in a monologue, you must ensure that other people are involved actively in the conversation. Just like Dr. Henry Kissinger, US most famous secretary of state, who is known as a authority in politics, national security and foreign policy but despite this expertise, he will often ask, “What do you think?”. By this he will get better and quality information from even his “enemies” by getting them talking!
Help the shyest person in the group: Shy people naturally withdraw to their shell when they find other people talking freely but their own opinion is not requested. If you notice someone in the group is very shy or behaves “reserved” get him or her to talk even it it means saying just “yes” or “I agree”. This goes a long way to boost his or her confidence to talk more. Another way you can do this is to nod towards them often during the conversation. By doing this you are carrying them along. You may also consider bringing in topics that you are aware will genuinely interest them. You can simply ask, “So how about your wife? Does she still work at the Federal Place?” They will talk when the topic really interests them.
Do not monopolise the conversation: It is a big goof on the part of any speaker to think he or she knows all about any topic. Beware of the situation when your listeners don’t even consider it necessary to ask you any question about what has just been said. Do not believe them when they simply say they understand what you are saying. If your partner is quiet all through your monologue, it is time to either keep your mouth under raps or change the topic.
When you audience keeps quiet during the conversation, it will be wrong for you to think you are making a sense. One must therefore agree with Malcom X; when asked if he ever keeps quiet during a conversation, he said that if he is quiet then it can either mean that he has no understanding about what is being said or that he is just imagining how stupid the speaker is.