The Most Common Mistakes When Starting a Conversation

Do you know the most common mistakes when starting a conversation? In this article, you'll learn how to detect them and avoid them.
The Most Common Mistakes When Starting a Conversation

Last update: 17 November, 2021

Communicating with other people is something we do on a regular basis. However, we don’t often stop to analyze whether we’re doing it right or wrong, which can give us clues as to why sometimes our relationships with others are successful while others end up being a disaster. Do we fail to connect, or do we make mistakes when we’re starting a conversation?

Perhaps we should remember a phrase left to us by the philosopher Plato to reflect on the possible mistakes we make when we engage in conversation. He said that “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools speak because they have to say something.”

The importance of proper communication

Although it’s a very valuable and vital tool in the fact that we can communicate with words, we hardly pay attention to it. Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that we may make many mistakes when starting a conversation.

Communicating well is good for work relationships, for our relationship with our partner, and for effectively transmitting information. After all, can you imagine a salesperson who doesn’t know how to communicate well?

It’s very likely that, in time, they would have to change jobs since they wouldn’t have the expected results. And what can we say about relationships? How many arguments could be avoided if we learned to communicate properly?

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Some of the most common mistakes when starting a conversation

Now that we can understand how crucial it is to improve the way we communicate, we must begin to be aware of the most common mistakes we make. Surely you’ll identify with some of them, and this is the first step to take.

Errores al comunicarse en el trabajo.
Communication is very important at work. Without an assertive attitude, you will not achieve your goals.

Not listening to the other person

We may think that what we’re saying is very important, and we’re so excited that we don’t listen to the other person. This creates a communication problem. It doesn’t flow, and it’s not bidirectional.

We could be talking to a wall, and the result would be the same. Learning to listen requires a great effort if we haven’t learned to do it before.

Mistakes when starting a conversation: Choosing inappropriate topics

At this point, we’re not referring to topics that may be considered taboo, but to choosing topics that aren’t appropriate for a particular moment.

For example, controversial or very negative topics are good examples. These may not please our receivers. It’s even possible that uncomfortable silences are created. To avoid this, we must adapt the topic to the communicative situation.

Interrupting the other person

This is a common mistake when starting a conversation. Sometimes, we don’t wait for the other person to finish talking to tell them what we think.

We do it before they’re even done speaking, and this is not at all pleasant. If we’ve never been on the other side of this bad habit, the truth is that it can be uncomfortable to talk to someone who doesn’t listen to you and doesn’t let you finish sentences.

Not using the right body language

Non-verbal communication is just as relevant as words. In fact, it has a great weight in what we say.

If we’re not looking into the eyes of our interlocutor, gesticulating excessively, or we’re moving from one side to the other without stopping, it’s very difficult to have a good conversation with us. All this can generate discomfort in the other person, and we must keep an eye on these behaviors and learn to control them.

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Tips for communicating successfully

Now that we know the importance of starting a conversation and avoiding some common mistakes, how can we start communicating successfully from now on? Well, here are some tips that will be very useful if we put them into practice.

1. Show interest when starting a conversation

To be successful in starting a conversation with another person, it’s essential to show interest. Ask them questions about their work experiences if you’re in a work environment, for example.

Here, you can apply active listening to improve your conversations.

2. Be yourself

Another tip to start a conversation and be successful is to be yourself. This means that you should be natural without trying to image a person with whom you don’t really feel identified.

The other person will notice that you’re making an effort to appear fake or appeal to them, which will be harmful for communication. Therefore, sincerity is very important.

3. Take care of non-verbal communication

We’ve already said that non-verbal communication is very important when having conversations with other people. Therefore, we must take care of it.

If you gesticulate a lot, try to control this with a pen in your hand or by crossing your arms, for example. In case you don’t know where to put your hands, an object is a great help.

Gesticulación es uno de los errores más frecuentes al comunicarnos.
Exaggerated gesticulation is a common mistake. We can control it with objects that we hold while we talk.

4. Be relaxed and calm when starting a conversation

Finally, we should be relaxed and calm when we start a conversation with someone. Many times we believe that the other person isn’t going to like us. This insecurity is easily noticed when we’re in front of another person.

Therefore, it’s essential that we relax, are natural, and don’t try so hard. This way, we’ll realize that everything flows more naturally.

Little by little, we can solve common conversation mistakes

It’s not easy to start a conversation with someone and take into account all the above advice. Sometimes there may be problems that involve insecurity and self-esteem that should be treated with a professional.

However, being aware of what happens to us when we’re in front of other people is vital to start making certain changes. All of the above tips will help you get to a great start.

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  • Cestero Mancera, A. M. (2014). Comunicación no verbal y comunicación eficaz.
  • Hernández Rosado, M., Lluesma Rojas, M. D. L. C., & De Veras Olivera, B. (2019). Hacia una comunicación eficaz. Revista Cubana de Educación Superior38(2).
  • Solís, J. D. F. (2013). El valor del humor para una comunicación eficaz. Miscelánea Comillas. Revista de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales71(138), 459-482.