What to do in that awkward moment when your mind goes blank and you can’t think of anything to say…
Not knowing what to say in conversation means that many people hold back from beginning conversations with new people because they are afraid creating awkward silence in conversation.
Benjamin the conversation coach teaches us a simple conversation skills technique for beginning a conversation anywhere and with any person. All you need to do to avoid awkward silences in conversation is to simply notice what is happening around you and then make observations based on what you see.
As Benjamin advises, when applying this technique it’s important not to judge or assess your observations before you speak. You should just say what you observe, even if you think that it is not interesting enough to share. You may think that the dusty table is not an appropriate topic to observe in conversation, but actually saying such an observation can serve to take the conversation in an unpredictable and energising direction – you just won’t know until you speak up and share your observation!
To keep the conversation interesting it is necessary to make new observations whenever you feel the energy of the conversation is falling or when you don’t have anything new to say about the topic.
By talking about what is happening around us and paying attention to our surroundings we can avoid asking question after question in conversation. It means that the conversation is more organic and unpredictable than it would be if you were to simple ask typical ‘getting to know you questions’. You will also find that although you are mainly talking about impersonal topics of conversation (for example talking about a chair or painting in the room), you get to know quite a bit about the person to whom you are talking.
Next time you are having a conversation with a relative stranger try out Benjamin’s conversation skills technique. You don’t need to prepare anything in advance; simply observe what you see around you.