Follow a pattern
People usually get lost in the middle of a conversation when an idea pops up and the focus will be shifted there. Having a pattern, such as the basic stages of constructive conversation, will be helpful in staying on topic and making sure that the purpose or goal has been achieved.
Research shows that there are four stages to having a constructive conversation:
- The first stage is informing or providing information or explanation on the topic. This will help the person you’re speaking to get a grip of what you are discussing and what’s coming next.
- Second is inviting the person you are talking with to give inputs. You can also ask them questions to bring them into the conversation.
- Third is to listen actively. Being quiet does not equate to listening, thus people engaged in a constructive conversation should utilize non-verbal cues like maintaining eye contact and nodding. This gives the person speaking confidence that he is being heard and understood.
- Acknowledgement of the ideas and points given is the last step. People in a conversation feel good knowing that they have been heard and understood.
Label and show emotions
Emotions play one of the vital roles in every conversation. They make up the atmosphere and build rapport. It is important that we create such a connection with the person we are talking to, for it puts both ends at ease. Getting validation and acknowledgement also comes with labeling and showing your emotions towards the information or idea you got.
You should also keep in mind that it is not always about you. Your emotions are important, but make sure that they do not feel like you are imposing your thoughts on them. Respect their ideas as you want them to respect yours.
No matter what your personal relationship is with the person you are talking to, it is best to be genuine. Constructive conversations are supposed to be built with trust, and the points or ideas you will give would mostly be based on your purpose of giving constructive opinions. People can sense when one is doing lip service.