A recent study found that deep conversations make people happier than small talk. After strapping a microphone onto participants for four days and recording their conversations, researchers found that that the happiest person in the study (according to self-reports measuring satisfaction with life and other measures of happiness) had twice as many deep conversations as the unhappiest person.
According to these findings, it seems that deep conversations influence our well-being. While vox.io makes it easy for you to start a conversation, how you communicate is entirely up to you. Whether you’re having a professional conversation or just talking with a friend, here are some tips to help you have an effective and meaningful conversation—online or offline.
When you’re doing the talking…
1. Speak clearly and directly.
This probably seems obvious, but it’s important. If what you’re saying is confusing (maybe it’s too wordy or isn’t quite clear), people might misunderstand you or stop paying attention to what you have to say. Also, your messages should be direct: Avoiding what you really want to say won’t help other(s) to understand what you’re thinking or how you feel.
2. Be congruent.
Make sure that your nonverbal and verbal communication is congruent to help others’ understand you better. What does that mean? Make that sure what you’re saying corresponds with how you look, to reassure your listeners: If you feel happy, make sure that you look and sound happy.
3. Repeat yourself.
Repeating things will help your listeners remember what you had to say. You’ve mostly likely heard of the primacy and recency effects - when presented with a list of information, people tend to remember the first and the last item the most. If you have something to say that you really want be remembered, say it at the beginning and the end of your conversation. If something is a bit difficult to understand, it might also help to repeat it throughout the conversation.
4. Ask questions.
If you want to make sure that you’re being understood - ask. Whether you are talking about something confusing or something that means a lot to you, ask the listener(s) for verification. You can do this by asking the reader to paraphrase what you said, or simply by saying “do you know what I mean?” This can help to reinforce your message, which will therefore help others to remember it.
When you’re the one listening…
1. Look like you’re listening.
This includes behaviors like facing the speaker, maintaining an open posture, making eye-contact, nodding, smiling (when appropriate), and also making affirmative sounds (like “mmhmm”) to agree with someone. These cues will show the speaker that you are truly listening and interested in what he or she has to say, which give him or her the confidence to keep on talking.
2. Ask questions.
Asking questions is a good practice for listeners, too. Whether you’re asking the speaker to clarify something he or she said or you’d like to learn more details, your questions will show the speaker that you are engaged in the conversation, while also deepening the conversation and checking that you understand. Just make sure that you time your questions appropriately and…
3. Don’t interrupt.
Cutting a friend off while he’s talking to you is a sure-fire way to prevent him from fully expressing what he has to say. Not only will you be perceived as rude, but you’ll also miss out on information that he wanted to share with you. Instead of interrupting, make a mental note of what you want to say and wait until your friend is finished speaking before you share your input.
4. Use your senses.
When you are listening to someone talk, pay close attention to his or her emotional expressions, body language, and the words they choose; You might find some clues about how your friend is really feeling. While she might seem like she’s happy about something, her facial expression or word choice might actually reveal the opposite. Recognize these signs and encourage her to communicate more effectively.
Now hop on over to vox.io and be happier. :)