- Refrain from feeling like you have to say as much as someone else. Just say to yourself, "I'm in listening mode." Try to say less and make the other person the center of attention.
- Rephrase what has been said: "So what you're saying is..." or something that shows you are trying to understand. Don't be cheesy about it though; it sounds weird.
- Regroup: Ask for clarification, or ask whether what you heard in close to what he or she said.
- Explore: Sorry I couldn't find another R word. Just take time to recognize what the conversation is really about. I am amazed at how many times good conversations end up tense and confusing because everyone got offtrack. Keep in mind the possible reason people talk to you:
- They like you and want to share stuff with you.
- They are confused about something, and they are hoping it will get clearer after talking.
- They feel upset (with you or someone else) and want to clear the air.
- They are nervous.
- They have a decision they have to make.
- They want attention.
- They think it is fun.
- They want to practice. A lot of people are painfully aware that they are bad with conversation. Some of these people actually wan to work on learning to talk to people.
- They are afraid to let you talk because they don't want to be judged or evaluated.
- They have had a great day, and they want to tell someone.
And the list goes on....
I think you can see that you will have a better interactions if you figure out what he conversation is all about rather than forcing it to be something it is not.