In my almost ten years being a broadcaster, my favorite part is always when I am having a conversation with anybody and by anybody they could be a celebrity, a professional, a university professor, a business person or a politician and I have learned some valuable lessons from all my conversations with all these people.
LISTENING: This to me is the most important part of being a host. Often, people think that being a host means that you have to know how to talk without taking a breather but in fact, it is about intentional listening. Celeste Headlee said “a conversation requires a balance between talking and listening”. Listening to understand what the person has to say such that you can draw out the most interesting stories out of them will have you enjoying conversations.
EVERYBODY HAS AN INTERESTING STORY: I could make a personality out of anyone because everyone has an interesting story to tell. We go about our lives experiencing life and meeting people and we think some people are boring, the most interesting stories I have heard have come from my conversations with people that seemed the most ordinary.
BELIEVE: If you are having a conversation with someone and you want to be a great conversationalist, you have to believe in the person you are talking with and by that I don’t mean that you need to do anything extra but your mindset has to be open, welcoming and willing because that is what will make you ask honest questions which might lead to interesting paths that you can learn from. When you believe in the person and what they have to say, it shows up in very honest ways in the conversation.
RELAX: Even your biggest professionals can get nervous. I once was about to interview this fashion designer, she had been in the corporate world for over a decade and wanted to launch her fashion business when she came for the interview. She got so nervous and worried, I was surprised because she didn’t look like someone who would be, I had to reassure her that she will be fine and all she had to do was relax and follow my lead. The interview ended up becoming very interesting because she surprised herself.
When you are nervous about talking to a stranger or walking up to a person at a networking event and you think the person is stuck up and probably not interested in talking to you, it might be because they are also nervous or thinking you are stuck up.
ASKING QUESTIONS: Never fails as a conversation starter. When you meet people most times you are curious about them, a question pops in your head “I like that haircut, how did they think of that?” Nothing too deep or intrusive for the first time but learning to ask interesting questions can open the gateway to an interesting evening out.
In all, I find having conversations with new and old people therapeutic and beautiful lessons, opportunities and entertaining stories can come out of it.