keeping conversations going

My Unique Strategy for Keeping Conversations Going

I used to hate getting my hair cut at the barber.

It was always an awkward experience. We wouldn’t have much in common or any reason to talk besides “soooo…what’ll it be today?”

He might ask me a few questions about what I do for a living (and I would just give him the same answers assuming he forgot), and I might ask him a few questions about how long he’s been cutting hair or something…but we just didn’t click.

For 15 agonizing minutes, we would both silently avoid making eye contact in the mirror until the cut was finished.

Ugh.

I was determined to figure out a better method for easily keeping a conversation going because I couldn’t avoid this. I needed to get my hair cut unless I wanted a sloppy appearance to be yet another challenge in my dating life.

So one of the things I came up with one day out of shear frustration (pun intended), was asking him about how he liked the surrounding area. On a whim, I asked him if he’d ever been to the Mexican restaurant next door.

And for some reason, he just came ALIVE. This led to us talking about restaurants in the area, the best places to eat on the west coast, where he recommends for great margaritas, why he loves talking about food, that he cooks, how he prepares food, where he buys food, places he’s traveled to in Mexico…

We talked that day for a good hour and I didn’t mind how much longer it was taking him to finish the haircut.

After finally connecting with this guy, I went home, re-traced my steps, and created what I now call “The Zoom Out Technique.”

What is The Zoom Out Technique?

In any given conversation you’re having, you always have one asset at your fingertips:

Geography.

You can use geography as a visual guideline for how you construct the conversation. When you utilize this, you’ll feel more organized and everything will flow more easily because of how you’re focusing each topic.

So here’s how it works:

Start by talking about the environment you’re both currently in. Then zoom out geographically until you can find a topic you can both connect on.

Let’s say you’re on a date in a restaurant. The conversation isn’t going so well – she doesn’t seem very interested in what’s going on. Maybe it’s the food. Maybe it’s the service. Who knows.

So you start by “zooming out” of that restaurant to talk about a wider area: restaurants in that part of the city.

This might spark her attention. But if it doesn’t, zoom out once more to the entire city. You can switch focal points and talk about things she does for fun in the city or you can stay on the restaurant topic but discuss where she likes to eat in the city.

If that doesn’t work, zoom out again and talk about what she thinks of living in that state. And then that country. And then finally, if that STILL doesn’t work, you can talk about the other countries around the world (and travel in general).

You would keep widening your search, trying different ideas until you landed on a topic that worked.

The beauty of this is you always have something available to talk about because you can always zoom out another level until you find something you can both click on.

And even if you have failed to ignite some interest on every single level, ending on the topic of travel is the ultimate safety net. Because who doesn’t enjoy talking about travel?

I speak about how powerful this is in keeping your conversations going in my free Conversation Crash Course – and even though I list out an entire “cheat sheet” of topics you can use that usually work, travel beats ALL of them. It is the single most powerful point of conversation because most everyone loves doing it and talking about where they’ve been.

Having this waiting for you at the very last stage of the technique is like having a 315 pound bouncer protecting your conversation from awkward silence…and then giving that bouncer an AK-47 if somehow it manages to break in.

How to Use the Zoom Out Technique

Step 1: Assess the Conversation

As soon as you are either scrambling for what to say next or notice your conversation partner is losing interest, bring out this technique

Step 2: Zoom Out to the Surrounding Area

Begin by talking about the local part of the city or town you’re both in. If that doesn’t work…

Step 3: Zoom Out Again to the Entire City

Switch topics here or at the very least switch focus to the city at large. If that doesn’t work…

Step 4: Zoom Out Again to the Entire State

If that doesn’t work…

Step 5: Zoom Out Again to the Entire Country

If that doesn’t work…

Step 6: Zoom Out One Last Time and Talk About Travel

If for any reason whatsoever you still haven’t clicked, step 6 will rescue your conversation and will be a crucial turning point in ensuring you keep things flowing.

Easy as that!

Try This During Your Next Conversation

So think back to your last conversation that didn’t go as well as you liked. How could you have used this unique technique for reviving the discussion?

Armed with this new strategy, try this during your next conversation and feel free to let me know what happens.

I challenge you to go through all 6 steps and still run out of things to talk about. 🙂

Struggling with keeping conversations going? If you’d like to learn how to put awkward silence permanently in the rear view window, be sure to check out my free Conversation Crash Course. You can gain access right below!

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