Five Tips for Dealing with Challenging Conversationalists

The following conversation tips explain some habits that people display during conversations.

  1. Problem: Won't stop talking.

    The key sign of this habit is someone who talks non-stop and will not let others speak. They talk in circles or go off on incoherent rambles. Someone who is nervous might display this type of conversational behavior. To help them focus and slow down, try to make them feel at ease by showing interest in what they are saying and asking focused questions.

  2. Problem: Silent type.

    These people like to stand around and listen, but not say much. They may interject occasionally, but usually with just a brief sentence or one word answer. The problem here is these people can seem like they are more eavesdropping than conversing and this can make others in the conversation feel awkward. In order to help someone who does not speak up much you must actively draw him or her into the conversation. Most often people display this habit because they are shy.

  3. Problem: Know it alls.

    This person knows everything and always has an answer for any situation. They also have a way of making their way the only way to do anything. These people may really believe they are helping, so it is sometimes hard to redirect the conversation away from their lecture. The best way to handle a know it all is to listen and thank them for their advice, and then change the subject.

  4. Problem: It is all about Me.

    Someone who has this habit always turns the conversation into something about his or her self. They use the phrases 'me too' or 'I know how you feel' a lot. Their goal is to grab the attention of their audience so that they can speak. To help someone with this problem you can pay attention to him or her and make he or she feel like they are a valued member of the conversation. However, if they try to turn the conversation back to themselves then politely direct it back to the original person.

  5. Problem: Gossip.

    Gossip can be rather damaging, especially when it isn't true. This makes many people feel uneasy around someone who is gossiping. Most people gossip because they feel insecure about themselves. Try asking this person questions about their life. Try to find something they are interested in to draw them away from gossip and into a good conversation.

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