How to be an Engaging Conversationalist

February 25, 2013

ID-10046903The reason so many people are poor conversationalists is that they talk about only the things that interest them—and that may be deadly boring to others.

Dale Carnegie, a master presenter and conversationalist, knew that the only true way to engage others in conversation was to reverse that process. Lead the other person into talking about his or her interests, his or her business, his or her golf score, his or her success, his or her children, etc. Do that and listen intently and you will give pleasure; consequently you will be considered a good conversationalist—even though you have done very little of the talking.

In his book How to Develop Self Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking, Dale Carnegie talks about Harold Dwight of Philadelphia, who made an extraordinarily successful speech at a banquet that marked the final session of a public speaking course. He talked about each man in turn around the entire table, told how he had talked when the course started, and how he had improved. He recalled the talks various members had made, and the subjects they had discussed. He playfully mimicked some of them, exaggerated their peculiarities, and had everyone in attendance laughing and pleased.

With such material, Mr. Dwight could not possibly have failed. It was absolutely ideal. No other topic other than that of his listeners would have so interested and engaged that group. He was a master at handling human nature.

Keep Harold Dwight’s approach in mind the next time you have to address a group of people and you too, will find them hooked on your every word.

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