It’s happening more and more these days – you try to have a conversation with a teenager and they don’t look you in the eye, can’t take their eyes off their phone, and don’t understand that a conversation goes back and forth. Having a good conversation is something learned, it’s not intuitive, and it starts at home at a young age.
Around the time our kids were in second or third grade, we started teaching them how good conversation works. This age is appropriate because it’s when most kids start wanting their friends to like them, to come over to play, etc. And in order for friends to like you, you have to know how to talk to them. Share these simple tips with your kids to help them improve their conversation skills. It not only helps them be a better friend, but you’ll enjoy an improved relationship, also.
- Make sure you tell your kids that people love to talk about themselves more than anything. A great conversation is great to the person doing most of the talking, after all. We’ve all been there. So, if you hit a lull or aren’t sure what to say, just ask the person you’re talking to something about their day/weekend/activities.
- Secondly, conversation is like a tennis match. It’s near impossible to do with one person, and the ball needs to be passed back and forth for it to be considered a game. So, after you’ve been doing some talking, ask the other person a question (about themselves if you’re not sure what to talk about) and then relax and listen while they answer. If they know the art of conversation, they’ll hopefully ask you a question in return – and voila! You’re having a great conversation!
- Know when to stop talking. A good conversation turns sour when someone is a convo hog. Say what you want to say – and then STOP. Listening is just as valuable as what you have to say. When you listen, REALLY listen. Remember what is shared with you and next time you see that person, find a way to bring it into the conversation. For example, if they tell you they like to play soccer, next time you see them you can ask them if they’d played soccer recently. They’ll be touched you remembered and you’ll be thought of fondly!
Teach these simple skills to your kids while they’re young, reinforce them at home when you talk to your kids, and then when they’re a teenager or adult, they’ll be able to be a capable, confident conversationalist. Got more tips? Comment below.