4 TIPS TO MAINTAINING POSITIVE IMPRESSION DURING CONVERSATIONS

Whether you are discussing with a friend, a neighbour, a colleague, gone on a date or just kicking off a conversation with someone you just met in the mall, aircraft or elsewhere, you would want to create an impression that leaves a positive memory even if you don’t get to meet again. Unfortunately, we often look towards the popular points like being cognizant of your body language, developing a sense of humour and all of that, they are very great and they matter but there are certain things we tend to overlook and I’d be sharing them with you.

These tips aren’t to help you start up a conversation but to help you have a healthy conversation and leave a better impression after a conversation with someone. These tips can help you in most cases but it is written to address some unaddressed mistakes we make when getting to know people. Let’s get rolling!

1. INSTEAD OF CRITICIZING, ASK POLITE QUESTION

During a conversation, people might say something you seem to dislike and how you react at this point determines the kind of impression you leave with the person. For instance, if you are a Christian and you happened to be in conversation with an atheist, you shouldn’t start judging them or criticizing them using the yardsticks of your faith. As much as you believe you are following the most excellent way, you shouldn’t shove it down the throat of someone else. Now instead of saying “Only fools say there is no God.” Why not ask “why do you believe there is no God?” Instead of saying “you don’t know anything about Christianity” why not ask “can you tell me what you know about Christianity?”

When you criticize people unhealthily, you are judging them and you’re indicating that their reasoning is faulty which isn’t supposed. Criticism sometimes is mostly unfair, proud people are usually interested in defending their ego and not truly trying to make another see from a different perspective. You may not subscribe to someone’s line of thoughts but you can ask polite questions that only indicates you want to know why they think that way. It also makes you open for more discussion, it makes the conversation interesting and of course, it creates more room for both of you to see from different perspectives.

When it is about getting people to change their views or lifestyles, criticism is not a way to do it, it has always proven to fail. Many times, asking interesting questions introduces another person into thinking from another perspective. It doesn’t matter if you are conversing with someone who always sounds critical, you don’t have to let people’s weaknesses affect your strength. Just as a kind act towards a snake doesn’t stop it from being venomous, other people’s display of weakness shouldn’t change you!

“Just as a kind act towards a snake doesn’t stop it from being venomous, other people’s display of weakness shouldn’t change you!”

Not all questions are great! You should always consider asking less critical questions. So, if you are always a critical person or you don’t know if you’re critical, you may want to consider these things below:

  • Instead of focusing on what is wrong, focus on how to find the solution. For example, you are discussing with someone and he says “I took a loan that I couldn’t pay” instead of asking “why on earth did you have to take such a loan?” you could consider saying “there will always be a way out. What steps have you taken to manage your debts?”
  • Instead of throwing the worst of people to their faces, why not ignore their personality and focus on how they could do better the next time? For instance, you shouldn’t make statements like “but you weren’t wise enough to have gone for that loan.” Consider saying things like “we all learn from situations like this.”
  • Instead of engaging someone in a way that devalues them, you should always add value. Always think before you talk and ensure your words are exhilarating enough as this helps build some kind of trust and excitement to meet you again! Instead of saying “that was a foolish decision” Why not consider words like “it must have been a tough decision for you but you’ll surely overcome this.”

You have to ensure that you engage people most positively no matter how foolish their opinions, decisions and actions look to you. If you can’t offer advice or solution without criticizing people, then your counsels aren’t relevant to them.

Instead of focusing on what is wrong, focus on how to find the solution.

2. DON’T COMPLAIN, COMPLIMENT

When you engage with someone in a conversation and suddenly discover yourself wanting to complain about something, it could be about their dressing, about their makeups and so on, divert your attention and look for what to compliment. You don’t have to create an impression that you are a fault-finder!

You also shouldn’t consider complaining about yourself, your failures and so on to someone you’re starting a conversation with, you shouldn’t make it a common part of your discussion with people. Dodge it as much as you can. The conversation should be neutral, it shouldn’t be about you anyway! Bemoaning about your failures or complaining about them will probably make them want this conversation to end fast. It also leaves a negative memory.

To complain means to express dissatisfaction about something or someone. If you are not satisfied with yourself, you probably will never be an interesting person in your conversation with someone. Except you went to meet a counsellor, someone who had requested to know what you are going, a relative, friend or people in your circles, you shouldn’t consider complaining about yourself as a way to maintain a conversation and be interesting. Someone once met an Uncle who wanted to give him some money to make certain investments but because he came complaining how things aren’t working for him despite all the money he had invested, his uncle changed his mind because “nothing was working”.

Complaints will either trigger pity at first sight or scare that person away. Both aren’t a good thing! While pity shows someone isn’t happy about what you are going through, they may not likely want to meet you again because they may feel they don’t have enough capacity to get you out of those troubles or they just don’t want an extra burden. You can’t build an interesting personality when you always complain about yourself and others.

“Complaints will either trigger pity at first sight or scare that person away. Both aren’t a good thing!”

Consider the following:

  • During a conversation, find something about who you met to compliment on. You may also do that in a very helpful way. Remarks like “Wow! I like your dress, it looks super amazing. Red would be great too!”
  • Instead of complaining about your ex to who you are just meeting, consider using words like “Although it didn’t work out between us because of  strong differences, she was the best woman I had ever met!” People will always estimate how you discuss them with other people with how you discuss others to them.
  • Instead of complaining about yourself and creating very unhelpful impressions, you can build a strong personality in people’s mind by using words like “although I failed at the competition, I realized I am truly a strong and intelligent person.”

It may be okay to complain to people you have a strong relationship with or those who have expressed willingness to listen to that part of you, it is wrong to create a negative or weak image of yourself. Your words may make people find you very good and sincere, yet very weak to maintain a relationship or handle what they might want to offer you.

“People will always estimate how you discuss them with other people with how you discuss others to them.”

3. DON’T ARGUE, ASK WHY AND HOW?

In every conversation, there is usually that time we disagree with some opinion and views, our response at those times should be very cautious because we may even be wrong and we may also be threading roughly on a potential relationship. This is not to say that there aren’t healthy ways to argue but I don’t think there is any wisdom in engaging someone you are yet to know well in an argument. Hope you know that an argument is a verbal fight? Why create such an impression probably on first and second sight?

Instead of kicking off arguments, you can ask questions that come with “why?” and “how?” This helps you understand his or her perspective. Consider using words like “why do you think there is nothing wrong with abortion?” Remember your tone matters a lot! You must ask as someone who wants to know and you must listen as someone open to learning. In the end, you may never have to agree and you can always say “Well, it is like we can’t agree on this because I think otherwise but I truly appreciate your views and I will make more studies on this so that I can understand better.” This alone can win you a heart, they will want to meet you again and they may privately think about your views over and over again.

Imagine meeting someone just recently and ended up having arguments about your career, skin colour, your sexual orientation, your religious views and so on. You wouldn’t want to meet them again! When it is a public discussion, you shouldn’t be afraid of pointing out things you believe are lies and you shouldn’t be scared of expressing yourself without being judgmental; this is because the discussion involves you, someone else and an audience who you might have an influence on. However, as long as it is a private discussion, you should consider creating a comfortable environment that would make him or her want to meet you again. This way, you have more opportunities to influence him or her.

“Instead of kicking off arguments, you can ask questions that come with “why?” and “how?””

4. INSTEAD OF GOSSIP, TELL STORIES

Although gossip sounds like telling stories, it is simply an unconstrained conversation that aims at reporting about other people involving details that are necessarily confirmed as true or meant for the consumption of a third party. Always consider gossip more dangerous than poisons! Whatever someone will not want you to share with others or whatever you can’t say about someone in his or her presence, why use it in a conversation with someone else? Remember, gossiping about people don’t change them, it doesn’t right their wrongs and of course, it doesn’t make you better! Wise people will always never entertain someone who gossips about others and therefore it would be dangerous if you are using gossips to build up a conversation.

It is better to end a conversation if it will only take gossip to keep flowing! In the Bible, one of the wise sayings is

A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” – Proverbs 16:28

“Gossiping about people don’t change them, it doesn’t right their wrongs and of course, it doesn’t make you better!”

Sometimes gossip isn’t what happen between two noisy people who talk too much, it may also be what happens between professionals and learned people who gossip in a way that even makes it sound like they are concerned about the fellow they are talking about. No matter how concerned you are about someone, don’t gossip about them, especially to someone you are kicking off a conversation with. Sometimes, we find ourselves gossiping about a mutual friend, our siblings, a business colleague and so on. It may even sound gentle in this manner “I truly appreciate John, but he is a womanizer. It is giving me concern. Don’t tell anyone about this… I heard three women have had an abortion for him. I am just concerned.” As caring as this sounds, it is dangerous.

Consider this:

  • Gossip will never earn you a single trust and nobody will want to have anything to do with someone who will likely discuss them with another person in a bad light. When you gossip about Mr A to Mrs B, Mrs B will always believe you’ll likely discuss her with Mr C and therefore Mrs B may never want to meet you next time.
  • Gossiping about someone will always make you appear worse no matter how you try to make yourself appear good. Although the person you are talking to may appear to be paying keen attention to you, they are already considering you a potential threat. It is always obvious that people who talk about other people’s mistakes are simply using it to cover up their own worse behaviours.
  • Instead of talking about someone perhaps in a bid to communicate a lesson or make a point, consider making up your own stories with your characters without leaving any clue whatsoever that will link it to someone. You don’t even have to say “I will tell you about someone you know too well but don’t ask me who she is…”

“Gossiping about someone will always make you appear worse no matter how you try to make yourself appear good.”

Don’t entertain gossips yourself.

You don’t have to be calm about it or pretend you are cool with it. When someone you are starting a conversation with begins to gossip someone else, be sincere enough to tell them how you don’t like talking about other people. You don’t have to sound judgmental but you have to be serious! When you entertain gossips, you’ll eventually talk about others but when you avoid it, you are also setting a good example for whom you are just meeting and they would likely give you credits for that later. 

When you realize a discussion is swiftly taking a turn into gossip, try to change the topic immediately. There are lots of things to discuss that shouldn’t be about gossiping people.

When you are asked a question about someone, consider answering it in the best way it protects that person’s interest! If what they are saying is true, it doesn’t matter, it is still gossip! Defend who they are talking about and when it is not true point out the lies.

“When someone begins to gossip someone else, be sincere enough to tell them how you don’t like talking about other people.”

These few tips are usually overlooked when we want to leave good impressions during conversations. They weren’t what you were expecting right? But I hope you find it worth your time!

Let’s get your own opinion on the comment box.