Once the back and forth exchange has begun, it is your responsibility to keep the flow moving – which entails listening, responding and moving seamlessly between topics to create a connection.
For example: say the object of your affections intimated that they came to this particular coffee shop because a friend told them there was free WiFi access and they were excited to try the service out. A great segue to keep this conversation moving forward would be to ask where else they’ve found a good WiFi connection in town. For those not familiar with WiFi, you could ask what WiFi is and how it works.
In a nutshell, listen to what the person responds with and then think to yourself, “What do I know about those particular subjects?” Using the example again, you could easily discuss a myriad of things, such as where electrical plug-ins are located, the best place to sit while working on a laptop, or further inquiries about what kind of work they perform on their laptop.
Focus on taking your own experiences and weaving them in with the other person’s responses. By doing so you’ll be forging a connection with the person, creating hooks of information with which to start a conversation at a later date. To ensure that you are actually conversing, and not just bantering back and forth in a quick succession of questions and answers, try to remember these key points:
- Keep whatever stories or experiences you are sharing to less than a two minute retelling. You can always expand more if the person asks;
- Turn the conversation back to the other person where you can, such as, “What do you think?” or, “How about you?”;
- Try to let your conversation partner do half of the talking, with a natural blend of questions and answers;
- Don’t focus on one topic for too long, and if your talk gravitates to another subject - let it.