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Secrets to improving conversation skills as a professional

 Effective communication is essential to any successful relationship, whether it be personal or professional. In fact, a significant portion of our lives is devoted to communication, with most people spending 80-90% of their time engaged in some form of interpersonal communication, according to data from Researchgate. This can include interactions with colleagues at work, conversations with family and friends at home, or even communication on social media platforms. 

On average, individuals spend at least 0.6 hours daily solely on communication, highlighting its central role in our daily lives. That's why it's important to prioritize improving your conversation skills. In business settings, strong conversation skills can be crucial for making successful sales pitches, closing deals, and sharing necessary information for the operation of the business.

This article from Workee experts will share some secrets for improving your conversation skills.

What are conversation skills?  

Conversation skills are the abilities and techniques that help individuals effectively communicate and interact with others in various social and professional settings. These skills involve listening actively, speaking clearly and concisely, asking relevant questions, and maintaining eye contact and appropriate body language. 

Effective conversation skills also involve adapting to different situations and audiences and being aware of social norms and cultural differences. They also manage conflicts, resolve misunderstandings, and handle difficult conversations constructively and respectfully.

Conversation skills are important in many areas of life, including personal relationships, education, and the workplace. They can help you build and maintain strong relationships, communicate your ideas and needs effectively, and work collaboratively with your clients. Improving conversation skills may also help individuals feel more confident and assertive in social and professional settings. 

Top conversational skills every professional should master

We weren't given a manual to help us navigate the perilous waters of having great conversations and being understood when we were born. However, this is no excuse for being bad at it. However, if you've lost clients due to poor communication skills, here are some conversational skills to get you started.

  • Keen listening: This involves paying attention to your clients and understanding their perspectives rather than just sitting straight and waiting for your turn to speak or react to what has been said.¬†

  • Asking open-ended questions: One sure thing about open-ended questions is that they encourage your clients to provide more information and can facilitate more meaningful conversations.¬†

  • Responding appropriately: Asking open-ended questions sets the tone right but being able to give the right responses seals the conversation. Adopting the appropriate body language, tone, and words in response to the speaker's words will certainly make your clients warm to you.¬†

  • Clarifying and paraphrasing: This skill conveys the impression that you are following your client's thoughts back to back. Repeating the speaker's words will ensure understanding and help move the conversation in the right direction.¬†

  • Giving and seeking feedback: A conversion without feedback is merely 50% in. Giving and seeking feedback respectfully and constructively is one skill that will help improve your communication with clients and build trust in relationships.¬†

  • Managing conflict: Another skill that will come in handy when dealing with the rough waters of holding the right conversations is managing conflict and handling difficult conversations constructively. This will help you maintain positive relationships and resolve issues faster with your clients.¬†

  • Maintaining eye contact and appropriate body language is one skill that irks everyone. But that is the skill you need to make a great impression. Most people believe the eyes are the gateways to the soul. Maintaining eye contact and using appropriate body language can help convey interest and engagement in the conversation.

Developing and practicing these conversational skills can improve your ability to communicate effectively and build stronger relationships with your clients. 

The slippery slope of poor conversation skills

Before we discuss the top tips that can help you improve your conversation skills, let's first deal with how poor conversation skills can harm your relationships with colleagues and clients. Here are a few ways in which poor conversation skills can affect your professional relationships:

  • Miscommunication: The major sin of poor communication skills is that it can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication. This will cause confusion and frustration among colleagues and clients. It's important to be clear and concise in your communication to ensure your message is understood.¬†

  • Lack of trust: If you have difficulty expressing your thoughts and ideas clearly, you may be setting yourself up to be misunderstood. Poor conversation skills can cause difficulty for others to trust your judgment and expertise. This can make it difficult to build strong professional relationships and may impact your credibility and reputation.¬†

  • Conflict: Poor communication skills can lead to conflict and tension in professional relationships. If you struggle to express your needs or concerns effectively, it can lead to misunderstandings and resentment among colleagues and clients.

  • Poor teamwork: For a team to work effectively, team members need to be able to communicate and collaborate effectively. Poor communication skills can hinder teamwork and make it difficult to achieve common goals.

  • Loss of business opportunities: In the business world, strong communication skills are essential for building and maintaining client relationships. If you have difficulty communicating effectively, it can lead to misunderstandings and may cause clients to lose confidence in your ability to meet their needs. This can ultimately result in the loss of business.¬†

Overall, improving your communication skills is important to ensure success in your professional relationships. This may involve seeking training or coaching, practicing active listening, and being mindful of your body language and tone. You can build stronger, more productive relationships with colleagues and clients by improving your communication skills.

How to improve your conversation skills  

Effective communication is an essential skill in both personal and professional settings. Whether you're engaging in small talk with a potential client, delivering a sales pitch, or having a crucial conversation with your clients, you can adopt the following steps to improve your conversation skills and make a positive impression. 

Be an active listener

Good conversation involves more than just talking ‚Äď it's also about listening and understanding the other person's perspective. When listening to someone, please give them your full attention and try to understand their perspective. Avoid interrupting or finishing their sentences, and use nonverbal cues like nodding or making eye contact to show that you're engaged in the conversation.¬†

Be empathetic 

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. When conversing, try to put yourself in the other person's shoes and consider their perspective. This can help you build a deeper connection and facilitate more meaningful communication. 

Ask open-ended questions  

Open-ended questions cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" response. These questions encourage the other person to expand on their thoughts and feelings, leading to a more engaging and informative conversation. Examples of open-ended questions include "What led you to make that decision?" and "How did that experience impact you?" 

Steer clear of controversial topics  

While having honest and open conversations is important, it's also crucial to be mindful of the other person's feelings and boundaries. Avoid discussing controversial topics, such as politics or religion, unless you're sure the other person is comfortable with it. 

Be attentive to body language  

Nonverbal cues, such as eye contact, posture, and facial expressions, can play a significant role in communication. Make an effort to use positive body language, such as maintaining eye contact and smiling, to show that you're engaged in the conversation and open to hearing what the other person has to say. 

Pay attention to the tone  

Your tone of voice can greatly impact how your words are perceived. When having a conversation, try to use a respectful and considerate tone, even if you disagree with the other person's perspective. 

Be present  

It's easy to get distracted by phones or other distractions during a conversation. However, being present and fully engaged in the conversation is important to build a strong connection and facilitate effective communication. 

Connect with your clients  

This may sound a bit off the books, but if you're not paying attention to your clients and potential clients, someone else will‚Äď certainly your competitors. But one way to keep a pulse on your clients and keep the communication channels with your clients open and smooth is through the Workee client management platform.¬†

Workee is an all-in-one solution to help independent professionals and freelancers manage their clients and streamline their work processes. It includes several features designed to help professionals run their businesses more efficiently. Workee video conferencing function for virtual interactions and collaborations, a client management feature where you can integrate all your contacts, including Google contacts, in one place, payments and invoicing features, and a personal website builder that allows you to build a website and include all the information needed to communicate with you.

Conclusion

Improving your conversation skills takes time and practice, but it's a valuable investment that can benefit your personal and professional life. Following these tips and paying attention to your communication style can enhance your ability to connect with others and facilitate meaningful conversations. 

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