July 20, 2015

How To Avoid Awkward Conversations

Are you a conversationalist? Can you carry on a conversation on just about any topic with any person? Being able to converse with people is a talent and a skill. It’s one of the keys to growing your personal and professional network.


Unfortunately, many conversations don’t go as smoothly as we’d like. We all know the signs of an awkward conversation – unusual fidgeting, prolonged silences, short answers, inappropriate comments, rude body language, loss of eye contact, and lack of common interests. It’s terrible when a conversation doesn’t flow well, but it happens to all of us.

We’ve all been there, so don’t sweat it. Awkward conversations happen. Here are some strategies to avoid awkward conversations:

  • Acknowledge The Awkwardness – Sometimes it’s best to shine light on the obvious!
  • Make Small Talk – Comment on an outfit, ask questions about the other person, or mention the news.
  • Listen – Listening is important. If you don’t listen you won’t know what was said, which can lead to an obvious conversation derailment. Here’s how to become a better listener.
  • Find Common Ground – Try to establish what you have in common.
  • Be Yourself – As soon as you get nervous or embarrassed, conversations go downhill. Be yourself. Be confident. Relax.
  • Change The Topic – A simple switch of the topic and the entire flow of the conversation will change.
  • Have Conversation Starters and Topics Ready To Go – Memorize a bunch of conversation starters. Keep them in your back pocket to avoid awkward conversations.
  • Ask Open Ended Questions – It’s easy to answer yes or no, but a question that requires an thoughtful answer is always better.

Hopefully these strategies will help you avoid awkward conversations and help to keep the conversation flowing. As we said earlier, awkward conversations happen. If you truly need to escape from an awkward conversation, try one of these tactics:

  • Get a Third Party To Join The Conversation
  • Seek Something Else To Do
  • Establish That It’s Great To Meet Them And Move On
  • Introduce Them To Someone Else
  • Escape To The Restroom or Bar

Networking is important. Whatever happens, make a graceful exit and always be polite. Life’s all about who you know, so it’s wise to never be rude.

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