Conversation Skills: Importance And Tips To Improve

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Strong conversation skills are highly effective and one of the most common requirements in a workplace. They help in the growth of your career, as they enable you to create a good impression among your colleagues and management. The ability to have better conversations with people can make you look confident and friendly in the workplace. In this article, we discuss the importance of conversational skills in the workplace and explore a few tips that can help you improve your skills.

Related: How To Start a Conversation (With Conversation Starters)

Importance of conversation skills in a workplace

Having strong conversation skills can help you communicate effectively with your supervisors, colleagues and support staff. As conversations at work can happen face-to-face or via smartphones, emails and social media, it is important for employees to learn how to use different modes of communication. These skills also are highly effective for networking and can aid in building relationships with colleagues. Here are a few ways these skills can impact your performance in the workplace:

Increases employee engagement

Conversation with your colleagues helps you connect on a more direct and personal level. This enables you to understand the requirements and to cater to them efficiently and effectively. It also helps to incorporate a feeling of trust, which contributes to creating a positive work environment.

Helps in reducing conflicts

Miscommunication is one of the key reasons for conflict in a workplace. Communicating and having open conversations with your peers reduces the chances of misunderstanding. A straightforward conversation can help you understand the perspective of your colleagues and act accordingly by making adjustments or by avoiding something that can cause any inconvenience.

Related: How To Introduce Yourself In An Interview

Creates a productive workforce

Strong communication skills can facilitate engagement among employees. A leader or team manager with strong conversational skills can easily connect with the employees and encourage them to make use of their talents to their full potential. Communication can directly affect productivity in a workplace, which makes it important for an employee to have strong communication skills.

Tips for improving conversation skills in a workplace

Conversations can include talking to someone informally or formally. Even though this seems like an easy task, some people may get nervous when starting a conversation or keeping the conversation going. Getting better at conversations involves developing several skills that can help you better understand what the other person is trying to convey and give a helpful and effective response. Being able to converse efficiently helps in building relationships and connecting with people on a personal level. Here are some tips to help you improve your conversation skills:

Related: Guide: How To Become An Effective Communicator

Listen carefully

You may lose focus during a conversation, especially if you are not a good listener. When it is your turn to reciprocate, you are either clueless about what to speak or pause in awkward silence. This may not help the other person. When the other person is expressing their opinions or views, consider concentrating on what they are saying.

Show people that you are interested in their thoughts and ideas. You can ask questions or even express your agreement or disagreement to the other person. This gives the person the assurance that you are actively listening to them and are interested in the conversation.

Be friendly and polite

It is a human tendency to feel approachable to people who seem friendly and polite. Maintain a calm manner, respect others' opinions and welcome the person wanting to speak so that people feel like starting a conversation with you. Take the initiative and start a conversation.

Keep a positive body language

Body language can be important in non-verbal communication. Make sure your body language shows you are comfortable listening to the other person. You can keep a positive body language by maintaining eye contact, nodding and having a slightly leaning posture. This shows the speaker that you are interested in the conversation and helps in making the other person feel acknowledged and comfortable.

Be nice

Whether it is your friend or a colleague at the workplace, you require maintaining confidentiality about what they say to you. Being ethical is important for having a good conversation. Be nice to everyone and say positive things about other people.

Indulge in casual talks

If you are meeting someone for the first time, avoid giving blunt or unsolicited opinions about subjects that you do not know completely. Try to find commonalities and discuss them to build a friendly relationship with the other person. You can talk about any recent news, shared interests or even your job. Casual conversations can help you analyse if the other person is comfortable talking to you. It does not require emotional investment in the conversation and can be a great conversation starter.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Nonverbal Communication Skills

Maintain eye contact

Maintaining eye contact is an important part of non-verbal communication. Holding eye contact implies that you are attentive and shows your confidence. If your eyes keep wandering all around the room, it may give the impression that you are uninterested and distracted during the conversation.

Respond genuinely

Listening carefully can help you come up with a genuine and honest response. If you feel you may not be able to do so, use some filler sentences and appreciate the person's opinion and tell them you have never thought about it that way. You can also be honest and admit that you do not have an appropriate response.

Be empathetic

Every person has their own opinion, and it is not necessary to agree with everything that the other person states. Try to be empathetic and understand their viewpoints. Remember t hat each person can have individual opinions. Being empathetic can help build trust, and the other person may acknowledge you as a polite and understanding individual. Show them that their opinions matter and respect them.

Give attention to details

A key factor in your conversation that can make you different from the rest is your attention to detail. During a conversation, try to give attention to small details. You can note any small details and discuss them later in a conversation, or even use them to compliment the other person. This can make the conversation easier, and also help the other person be honest during the conversation. Giving close attention shows that the other person has your complete and undivided attention, making them feel inclined to respond in a similar manner.

Related: 10 Ways To Improve Your English Communication Skills

Offer thoughtful insights

Great conversationalists usually have something to contribute to the conversation that other people might not know. It can be some interesting facts, news or even experiences. If you know you are going to be a part of the conversation, prepare a few points beforehand about the subject. Read books that are related to the industry, try to research and stay updated on the recent news and trends in the sector. Ensure that you use these to add something meaningful to the conversation.

Talk slowly and calmly

A possible hindrance during a conversation is talking fast. If you talk extremely fast, the other person may not understand what you are trying to convey. Apart from that, people who talk fast often come across as confused or in a rush. Try to talk slowly and calmly. This helps the person understand what you are saying and also makes an impression that you have your thoughts controlled. This also gives you the time to think about what you want to say next.

Use the right words

Having a good vocabulary is important for effective conversations. It can help you express your feelings, views and opinions clearly and accurately in a conversation. If you do not have a strong vocabulary, you might end up using the wrong word for something which conveys a different meaning to the listener. Keep expanding your vocabulary so that you can make the right choice of words to express yourself correctly during conversations, in or outside the workplace.

Create an emotional connection

Casual talks can help you establish the foundation for a conversation without emotional investment. Once you are done with casual talks, you can get an idea of whether you are interested in continuing the conversation and if the other person feels the same. A good conversation is a key factor in building relationships, and you can create an emotional connection by sharing similar or other personal information. It does not have to be something very personal, it can be as simple as something that you find interesting or enjoy doing.

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