12 Tips On How To Have A Meaningful Conversation

You already know you’d like to be a better conversationalist, but what does that mean exactly? Well, for starters, it means being able to talk about something besides your job and your kids and for others to do the same. 

It means thinking about other people’s experiences instead of always talking about yourself. And it means bringing a bit of creativity and excitement to an otherwise mundane interaction. Read on for 12 ways to have more meaningful conversations every day!

Ten Ways to Have Better Conversations | Celeste Headlee
1. Practice active listening to truly understand the speaker’s perspective.
2. Use open-ended questions to encourage deeper and more thoughtful responses.
3. Show genuine interest in the other person’s thoughts and experiences.
4. Share personal stories and anecdotes to create a more engaging dialogue.
5. Avoid distractions and be fully present during the conversation.
6. Respect different viewpoints and avoid interrupting the speaker.
7. Maintain good eye contact to convey attentiveness and connection.
8. Stay empathetic and consider the emotions behind the words.
9. Give thoughtful feedback and validate the speaker’s feelings.
10. Create a comfortable environment where both parties feel valued.
11. Avoid dominating the conversation and allow equal participation.
12. Practice patience, as meaningful conversations take time to develop.

1. Don’t Multitask

Multitasking is a common habit these days. We’re always doing something else while we’re on the phone, or in a meeting, or in class. 

Multitasking makes us less efficient and less productive because it forces us to divide our attention between different tasks instead of focusing on one thing at a time. 

Multitasking also makes us less creative, since it distracts our thinking process from being creative by constantly switching between tasks. 

And finally, multitasking has been linked to unhappiness both for the person doing it and for those around them who are affected by their distractedness!

So this Valentine’s Day weekend as you head out with your loved ones (or even just by yourself), make sure you’re not multitasking! Instead try focusing on what they have to say without letting your mind wander off into the future (where all those exciting things are going on).

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2. Don’t Pontificate

If you’re having a conversation, there is a good chance that the other person doesn’t need to hear what you think. 

Sure, they may want to know what you think of the movie they just saw or the book they just read, but sharing your opinions on their preferences shouldn’t be your first instinct. Instead of doing this, ask them questions about how they feel about these things or why they like them. 

Asking questions shows interest in the other person’s thoughts and opinions without trying to tell them what those thoughts should be.

If someone shares an idea with you whether it’s during a conversation or through writing a common mistake is to assume that this means others should agree with that idea as well. 

But we all have different experiences and contexts for understanding the world around us, so even if someone tells you something that seems obvious at first glance (like “your shoes are untied”).

It’s always worth considering whether there might be more than meets the eye before jumping straight into an explanation for why this isn’t true (like “because my eyesight isn’t as good as yours”). 

If someone says something that contradicts your thinking on a topic or issue, try not to immediately dismiss their opinion as wrong; instead consider whether there might be some truth in what was said even if it doesn’t match up perfectly with where you’re coming from right now!

3. Use Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are questions that can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no.” They invite some deeper thought and feelings, which is why they’re usually more meaningful than simple yes/no questions.

You might think of it as the difference between saying “you’re good at math,” and saying “how did you learn so much about math?” 

The first question is closed off you’re not really interested in hearing about their experience learning math, but rather just want them to say something positive about themselves. 

The second question invites them to share something about themselves that might not have otherwise been said, like maybe they learned all this stuff on their own by teaching other students!

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4. Go With The Flow

It’s okay to change subject topics, backtrack, or occasionally say “I don’t know” and move on. 

Don’t be afraid to change your mind it’s not only okay but also a good thing if you realize that you were wrong or didn’t have enough information to make an informed decision in the first place! 

Finally, don’t be afraid of changing your tone of voice or body language as you talk: sometimes it helps us get our point across better if we speak more softly or more energetically than usual

5. If You Don’t Know, Say That You Don’t Know

Someone once told me that the more we pretend to understand something, the more likely it is for us to actually understand it. When someone asks us a question and we have no idea how to respond, don’t be afraid of saying “I don’t know.” 

Most people will respect your honesty and appreciate your willingness to admit what you do not know rather than pretending like they’re wrong or being obtuse in order to avoid admitting that they were right even if they were right!

Likewise, if someone offers their help but then gets annoyed when you ask them too many questions or do things differently than they would’ve done them themselves, this could be a sign that this person isn’t willing (or even interested) in having an honest conversation with you. 

If this happens at work or with friends and family members while discussing certain topics, perhaps consider moving on from those relationships altogether!

6. Don’t Equate Your Experience With Theirs

Don’t try to say your experience is more valid, or that it’s more important than theirs. You might think that because you’ve had a certain experience, then your opinion must be superior to theirs. 

But just because you have been through something does not mean that the way you feel about it is always correct. A person who has experienced something entirely different can still be right about their emotions and feelings surrounding what happened. 

In other words: don’t look down on someone else for sharing their story in a different way than yours; instead, listen with an open mind and try to understand where they’re coming from!

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7. Try Not To Repeat Yourself

Repeating yourself is a sure-fire way to put your listener off, because it signals that you don’t really care about what they have to say. 

So if you’ve made a point and your partner wants to respond, let them do it without interrupting or give them space to finish before adding your own thoughts on the matter. 

If necessary, repeat what they said in different words so that they feel heard and understood, but then move on with the conversation rather than rehashing an old subject again and again until both sides are exhausted by exhaustion itself (see the next tip).

8. Stay Out Of The Weeds

Stay out of the weeds. Don’t get caught up in details, the past, or some future scenario you’re trying to figure out and predict. The present is where we need to be when we talk with someone else. 

No matter how much you may want to talk about how your day was or what happened at work, it can be easy for conversations to spiral into a conversation about only those things: “I had such an awful day!” “When I got home…” “And then this one thing happened…” 

Instead of focusing on these stories that are not all that relevant to either person involved (unless they’re actually interested), try asking questions like “How did you feel?” Or “What was going through your mind?” 

You’ll find yourself learning more about each other while also learning more about yourself in terms of what emotions and reactions rise up within you during certain situations or events at work or home life; which ones cause frustration/anger vs happiness/satisfaction?

9. Listen

Listening, on the other hand, is a skill that takes practice and effort to develop. If you’ve never been taught how to listen effectively, it can be hard to know where to start. 

More often than not, people who haven’t had the opportunity or desire to learn how to listen get caught up in thinking about what they’re going to say next which means they’re not actually listening!

But here’s the thing: Listening isn’t just about hearing; it’s about understanding. 

The goal of listening is for both parties in a conversation (or one-on-one interaction) to be able to express themselves fully without feeling like their thoughts aren’t being heard and for them both feel heard by each other. 

To achieve this outcome successfully requires active listening skills on both sides of the equation: Yours and theirs!

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10. Be brief.

Once you’ve worked your way through these ten tips, you will be ready for any conversation. You will know how to ask questions and listen effectively. You will know how to make a good impression and how to deal with someone who is making an impression on you. And most importantly, you will have made some new friends!

Remember: Just because your friend is talking about her favorite snack food doesn’t mean that it has been scientifically proven that she likes eating more than everyone else.

11. Ask Questions About A Person’s Idea

When you’re talking with someone, one of the most important things to do is ask them questions. This will help you figure out what they think and who they are. 

You can ask about their experience, their background or understanding of something (which we’ll call “perspective”), opinion or point of view, as well as many other things that will help you understand them better than before.

12. Don’t Dwell On The Negative (Unless In A Therapy Session)

This tip can be applied to both conversations and relationships. In our culture, we have a tendency to focus on what’s wrong with us, our environment, and other people. 

We have a way of seeing only the bad things that happen around us instead of all of the good things that do as well. 

For example: You’re talking with someone at work about your recent vacation plans and they say “I wish I could go somewhere this summer but I don’t have any vacation days left.” 

This statement puts emphasis on how much they don’t have what they’re lacking and doesn’t take into account what they do have: two weeks off during the summer! 

When we emphasize what’s lacking in our lives or relationships it creates unnecessary stress for ourselves and others. Instead try focusing on all the great things in life; there are plenty to go around!

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Conversations are like dances with your friends and loved ones. And as in any dance, there’s an element of playfulness and creativity. 

There’s room for mistakes, for laughter, for pauses. Just as important as the words we say is how we listen to one another really hearing what our partner is saying and not just waiting to get in our next line.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you improve your conversation skills and engage in more meaningful discussions:

How to Keep a Conversation Going: Explore practical tips and techniques to maintain engaging conversations and keep the dialogue flowing smoothly.

Mastering Conversation Skills: Enhance your ability to communicate effectively by mastering essential conversation skills and strategies.

12 Tips to Spark Meaningful Conversations: Discover a collection of valuable tips that can help you initiate and nurture authentic and meaningful conversations.


How can I improve my conversation skills?

Enhancing your conversation skills involves active listening, asking open-ended questions, and showing genuine interest in the other person’s perspective. Practicing these techniques can help you become a better conversationalist.

What are some tips to keep a conversation going?

To maintain the momentum of a conversation, try using follow-up questions, sharing personal anecdotes, and finding common interests. These strategies can help prevent conversations from becoming stagnant.

How do I initiate meaningful conversations?

Starting a meaningful conversation often begins with showing curiosity about the other person. Ask about their interests, opinions, and experiences to create a foundation for deeper dialogue.

What can I do to make conversations more authentic?

Authentic conversations are built on genuine interest and vulnerability. Share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences honestly, and encourage the other person to do the same.

How do I spark meaningful topics during conversations?

You can spark meaningful discussions by bringing up topics that align with the other person’s interests or current events. Asking thought-provoking questions and actively engaging in the conversation can lead to more meaningful exchanges.