Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and then that awkward silence rushes in? . What most of us do is panic and just say anything to fill in those gaps.But what can we do to break and avoid those awkward silences ?
Filling awkward silences is a skill every person can learn it’s something that happens to every person at one time or other and it’s definitely something that you can learn to overcome.
The main reason why conversations hits a wall is that they simply aren’t interesting enough. We don’t get emotionally affected and after some boring job talk we don’t know what to say.
However you have come to the right place because i will give you all the best answers to breaking that awkward silence anywhere you go. Are you ready?
1) Ask a meaningful “open-ended question” that the other person can connect to emotionally
(Ask for stories not answers)
Here’s what that means: People are emotionally connected to things that interest them, such as thinking about their future plans, or thinking back on their previous experiences, occupations, but most importantly themselves and their own lives.
One easy and effective way to ask an open-ended question that other can connect emotionally which is
So, I’m intrigued to ask…(question)
What are you genuinely interested in knowing about them? For example, if you’re talking to a girl/guy: “Where are you from?” “What’s your biggest fear?” “What are your greatest passions?” and etc.
If you ask people in which you engage conversations with about something they aren’t interested in is like scuba diving, pets or other topics where do you think the conversation is going to land?
Now asking questions about something they can connect to emotionally just makes the conversation go on without effort and without you stressing out about how will I break the awkward silence.
Don’t just ask for answers when you ask a question, you want them to answer your questions with stories.
“Remember to always ask easy open-ended questions. It’s the most obvious way to get people talking. Please don’t ask questions that people can answer with a simple yes or no!” (Coping with difficult people by Robert M.Bramson)
2) Think back on previous subjects
Memorize this technique and you’ll see vast improvements in your conversations. According to Nick Notas a confidence consultant wrote a very helpful article on breaking awkward silence and his first and preferred technique was “Relate to the last thing said or a previous topic in discussion.“He mentions to ask questions like: Where did the conversation leave off? Can you state your opinion on it? Can you ask them a deeper question? Can you share a story that relates to it?
Let’s say that the person you were talking to said something, and you have no idea of how to build the conversation on that. You’ve hit a wall. Now, ask yourself what you were talking about earlier in the conversation. Go back to any previous subject and ask questions that relate to that.
3) Don’t ever end with a statement
A great way to end up in awkward silence is to drop a statement and then expect the other person to reply.
Example: This coffee is very hot……..(awkward silence)
It can work with someone you know well – however, if you talk to someone you don’t know well, make sure to finish off your sentences with a related question. Another great tip from Nick Notas Is:
- Make an observational/situational statement. Spontaneously comment on something you can see with your eyes. That could be anything about what they’re wearing, the venue you’re in, or a person around you, etc.
examples: Wow look over there that looks….
Doesnt that smell…..
LOok at him/her they look…..
4. Comment on the silence
Many times when i tell people to comment on the silence they immediately think that they should say something like, “Wow….. this sure is awkward. Can’t think of anything to say…. nooooo don’t say this…..” Depending on why the silence occurred, sometimes it can be appropriate to make a casual observation about it. Chris MacLeod author of the popular site succeedsocially.com gave some great tips on this. For example 2 great tips he wrote:
- “If everyone just exhausts a particular topic you could comment, Hm, well it looks like we’ve come to the end of that thread” and then say something to take the discussion in a new direction.”
- “If you say something and it seems the other person can’t think of anything to say in response, you could go, “Ah, I guess you haven’t thought about that. Anyway, did you hear that…”
Another option you have is:
- If someone said something that everyone needs time to think about it and that silence comes upon everyone then , after a bit of silence you could say, “Yeah, that’s an interesting point. As a matter of fact I was thinking about it and I think…….
Take the pressure off of yourself. If the interaction has been going well, let the other person chime in. A conversation is supposed to be 50/50 deal. I put 50 percent of the work and the other person also puts 50 percent f the work. When the silence arises, relax , smile warmly, and wait for a response. Do not stress over it, it’s just silence it wont kill you. If they don’t bite, you can say something after a few seconds like “Okay, your turn.” or “I’ve been talking your ear off, tell me something about you.”
Thats interesting tell me more is a great line to use to have people tell you stories when you ask questions. And when that person is in story mode that awkward silence will not be present.
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