How To Make Every Conversation Count

Are you a good conversationalist? It’s a critically important skill to succeed: For job seekers looking to land a new position and for companies, large and small, marketing their products and services. Today’s high impact conversations are online.

Being able to strike up a good conversation is key to achieving your goals,
whether you are interviewing for a job, commenting on a blog, or deal-making on the golf course.

When I prepare candidates for interviews, I focus on techniques to engage in conversation. As I like to say, “The best interviews are dialogues – questions and answers. They are conversations. People who engage their interviewers and ask the best questions are usually the ones who win the job.”

When you talk with people, personally and professionally, it’s important to know where they are coming from. In business, do a little research beforehand by googling their name. This will give you a window into what they are interested in. Learning about people and preparing – before your conversations – will take you a long way and help to distinguish you.

Mastering the conversation is key in the online world and social media. In all businesses, marketing and media are taking a greater role relative to sales. Carrying effective online conversations can be the difference in making or breaking an opportunity.

There’s an art to having a great conversation.
It’s about connecting with people in memorable ways – on an emotional level.

Good conversationalists know how to start conversations, ask engaging questions and respond thoughtfully. Great conversationalists are excellent listeners, ask questions about others’ interests, and make people feel good about the experience. (Yes, conversations should be an “experience”.)

The greatest conversationalists are memorable: They influence a person’s thinking in positive ways for the better. A proactive, upbeat communication style – when talking and writing – sprinkled with a little wit and humor goes a long way.

Three steps to having a great conversation:
1. Find out a little about people before you talk with them.
2. Take the initiative and connect with people you are interested in.
3. Be curious. Ask questions. Listen. Be open and natural. Use voice inflection.

Conversation platforms are: online (writing), phone (talking) and in-person meeting (seeing). Skype is interesting because it combines elements of all three. Whether you are writing or talking, smile and good thoughts will flow.

Keep in mind the engagement points.

If you look at my Twitter profile, you’ll see my interests: “travel, cars, wine, skiing” and “very fun dad!” These are my engagement points. Each person has them. With other social media like LinkedIn and Facebook, you can find out where people live, where they work, where they went to school. Anyone who strikes up a conversation with me on these, online or off, I’ll naturally engage.

Hung by my PC in my office are visual reminders of what I keep in mind throughout the day. One is from Mike Lipkin, a motivational speaker, who shares how to maximize conversations:

How To Make Every Conversation Count
1. Be excited by the prize.
2. Be inspired by your purpose.
3. Be masterful through your preparation.
4. Be connected through your caring.
5. Be focused by your listening.
6. Be magnetic in your language.
7. Be inviting through your openness.
8. Be responsive through your improvisation.
9. Be deliberate in your practice.
10. Be consistent through your conditioning.

Whether you are in sales or marketing, at a networking event or at a social party, striking up and holding great conversations is at the core of everything we do – and of achieving success. It starts with a positive frame of mind and a smile.

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13 Responses to “How To Make Every Conversation Count”

  1. Hi Mike,
    You captured it. Conversation are not just blabber. They are memorable moments whether you intend them to be or not. What comes out of your mouth has an impact on others so best to make it count in a positive way!

    Here’s a post on being memorable that expands beyond conversation:

    Keep up the great posts and thanks for the opportunity for this conversation!

  2. This is a great post Mike! Great conversation is an art, and this art must be practiced every day.

    Here is what I have learned about what makes for a great conversation: having one mouth and two ears. Many people spend so much time thinking about what they want to say next during a conversation, they miss the meaning in what someone else is saying. Until we can totally immerse ourselves into the conversation and understand the meaning of another person’s words, we can’t really engage with them. That engagement is a connection that goes deeper than just the spoken word.

    To quote Maya Angelou: ““I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

  3. China Gorman says:

    Hi Mike: great reminders! People frequently forget in the high-stakes game of interviewing for a job that it really works best if it’s a conversation. And that means listening and talking. Great points. Thanks.

  4. Mike Ramer says:

    Hi Kate,

    Totally agree with you: Great conversations are memorable! I read your post and share your thoughts here:

    Memorable affects others.
    Memorable creates a story.
    Memorable builds a trust.
    Memorable sparks an insight.
    Memorable fosters respect.
    Memorable eliminates doubt.
    Memorable comes back to you.
    Memorable keeps you present.
    Memorable changes their reality.
    Memorable reflects value.
    Memorable brings you into their future.

    Now to add you to my blog roll!
    Best, Mike

  5. Mike Ramer says:

    Thanks Cyndy,

    Very glad you like this post and appreciate your comment! Agree with you: The art of conversation must be practiced every day.

    We can do this by being active listeners, as you state, “totally immerse ourselves into the conversation and understand the meaning of the other person’s words.” I strive to do this everyday.

    The quote by Maya Angelou is one of my favorites. Yes, that’s what people remember: How you make them feel. And, with an engaged conversation, as an active listener, we can make people feel great.

    Best, Mike

  6. Mike Ramer says:

    Hi China,

    Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. It’s always interesting to see what people focus in on when commenting, don’t you think? It’s the conversation starter!

    For you here, it is the interview as conversation. Classic, simple. It’s not only what we say, how we engage, but also how we deliver. Let our personalities shine through!

    Having met you a couple of times now at industry conferences in Boston and Las Vegas, you and our conversations are certainly memorable!

    Best, Mike

  7. Great post, the art of small talk is as important as being able to close a big sale!

  8. coco says:

    Good Morning Mike!

    I am so glad I found you. I was really amazed the words posted, it was so magnifying. Let us keep shining!


  9. Good Evening Mike!

    great post i m glad for you :) keep posting n share your Experience

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