How to Keep a Conversation Going: The Ultimate Guide

how to keep a conversation going

Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t know how to keep a conversation going? Maybe at a party, on a date, or even with your friends or family? It’s not uncommon to run out of things to say and feel awkward and uncomfortable. But don’t worry; you’re not alone! Many people struggle with keeping conversations interesting and engaging.

The good news is that it’s a skill that can be learned and improved upon. In this blog post, we will give you some tips and tricks on how to keep a conversation going and make it more enjoyable for everyone involved. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, these techniques can help you become a better conversationalist and have meaningful interactions with others. So, let’s dive in.

Why is it important to learn the art of conversation?

Learning the art of conversation is crucial for effectively communicating with others and building strong relationships. It allows us to connect with people on a deeper level, understand their perspectives, and clearly express our own thoughts and feelings.

The purpose of a conversation is to share experiences and ideas with your conversational partner. A successful conversation involves both parties understanding and seeing each other’s viewpoints, even if they don’t necessarily agree.

In today’s world, effective communication is key. Whether it’s excelling at work, improving your relationships, or expressing your internal thoughts in a more effective manner, communication is everything. By learning how to keep a conversation going, you can excel in all areas of life.

Conversation is a lot like art. It’s a uniquely human experience that exhibits infinite complexity. Just like art, a good conversation can leave a lasting impression and inspire new thoughts and ideas. Mastering great communication can lead to personal growth and development.

Always striving to understand the other person, asking questions, reformulating, and then telling them something about yourself are just a few tips to help you improve your conversational skills.. Whether it’s for personal growth, fostering a sense of community, strengthening a specific relationship in your life, helping those around you feel connected, or improving your leadership skills, learning the art of conversation is crucial.

What makes a good conversation?

A good conversation is a meaningful and engaging exchange of thoughts, ideas, feelings, opinions, and experiences between two or more people. A good conversation consists of multiple factors. Here are some tips that can keep those awkward silences at bay.

1. Active listening

Active listening is the cornerstone of any good conversation. It involves not just hearing the other person’s words but also understanding their emotions, intentions, and perspectives. This includes:

  1. Paying full attention to the speaker.
  2. Not interrupting.
  3. Providing feedback by nodding or saying “mm-hmm.”
  4. Reflecting on what’s being said and clarifying if needed.
  5. Responding appropriately.
  6. Listening to what the other person is saying rather than just waiting for your turn to speak.

how to keep a conversation going

Mastering the art of active listening is a crucial conversational skill. It lets your conversation partner know that they are being heard and that you are paying full attention. It also makes them feel valued and appreciated, which can work wonders in deepening your connection. Active listening also indicates that someone has higher levels of emotional intelligence, and it makes your interactions more memorable.

The easiest way to ensure you’re practicing active listening is by repeating back to the speaker what you’ve just heard. You should be mindful of talking less and listening more. Here are some examples of active listening scenarios:

  1. In a personal conversation: Let’s say your friend is talking about a problem they’re facing at work. As an active listener, you would give them your full attention, make eye contact, and nod or make affirming sounds to show you’re engaged. You wouldn’t interrupt or offer advice unless they ask for it. Once they finish speaking, you might say something like, “It sounds like you’re really stressed about this situation with your coworker. That must be tough for you.”
  2. During a business meeting: Imagine you’re in a meeting, and a team member is presenting a new idea. You focus on their words, avoid distractions like your phone or laptop, and take notes to help you remember key points. You show you’re listening by asking relevant questions or making comments that build on what they’ve said. For example, “I like your suggestion about improving customer service. Could you elaborate more on how we might implement that?”
  3. During a job interview: An interviewer asks why you’re interested in the position. You listen carefully to the question, pause to gather your thoughts, and then respond clearly and directly, showing that you understood what was asked. For example, you could say, “Just to clarify: do you want me to explain about a time when I led a project in my previous role?” You might also ask follow-up questions about the role to demonstrate your engagement.

2. Ask questions

A good conversation is a two-way street. It involves two people not only listening to each other but also engaging with one another. A great way of showing that you’re an excellent listener and a good conversationalist is by asking questions. This not only shows that you are interested in what the other person has to say, but it also helps to keep the conversation going.

You can ask them about a specific point they made previously, or if there was something you didn’t understand and wanted to hear more about, then mention it. It shows you’ve listened and that you value their contribution.

3. Find common ground

Finding common ground is essential for a good conversation because it allows for a deeper connection between individuals. When we share similar interests, beliefs, or experiences with others, it creates a sense of familiarity and mutual understanding. This can help to build trust and rapport in the conversation.

Additionally, finding common ground can also lead to new insights and perspectives. By discussing different viewpoints and experiences, we can learn from one another and broaden our understanding of the world. This can lead to more meaningful and fulfilling conversations.

how to keep a conversation going

Furthermore, finding common ground also helps to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings in a conversation. Differing opinions or beliefs are important in life, but if they aren’t handled in the right way, they can create tension or barriers in communication. By finding common ground, we can bridge these differences and find areas of agreement. This generally leads to more harmonious and productive conversation.

4. Openness and honesty

Openness and honesty are two crucial factors for having a good conversation. They serve as the foundation for establishing trust, respect, and understanding between individuals. When people are open and honest with each other, they create an environment where ideas can flow freely. Openness and honesty are critical for good conversation for several reasons:

  1. Builds trust: When you’re open and honest, it helps build trust with the other person. They are more likely to feel comfortable sharing their own thoughts and feelings if they perceive you as being genuine.
  2. Promotes authenticity: Authentic conversations are more meaningful and fulfilling. By being open and honest, you’re showing your true self, which encourages others to do the same. This, in turn, results in better conversations for all parties involved.
  3. Fosters deeper connections: People connect more deeply with those they perceive as honest and open. These qualities can turn surface-level interactions into more meaningful connections.

Remember, while honesty is important, it should always be paired with respect and empathy. Being honest doesn’t mean being harsh or disrespectful; it’s about expressing your truth in a considerate and constructive manner.

Top tips for how to keep a conversation going

Be concise and clear

Being concise and clear in a conversation is important because it allows for effective communication. When you are able to articulate your thoughts and ideas clearly, the other person can better understand and engage with you. This also helps prevent misunderstandings or confusion that may disrupt the flow of conversation.

Being concise also shows respect for the other person's time and attention. Rambling or going off on tangents can be tiring and make it difficult for the other person to follow along. By being concise, you are showing that you value their time and want to have a productive conversation.

Being concise and clear in a conversation is important because it allows for effective communication. When you are able to articulate your thoughts and ideas clearly, the other person can better understand and engage with you. This helps prevent misunderstandings or confusion that may disrupt the flow of conversation.

Being concise also shows respect for the other person’s time and attention. Rambling or going off on tangents can be tiring and make it difficult for the other person to follow along. By being concise, you are showing that you value their time and want to have a productive conversation.

Additionally, being clear in your communication helps avoid misunderstandings or misinterpretations. This is especially important when discussing more complex or sensitive topics. By choosing your words carefully and being direct, you can prevent any potential conflicts or tension in the conversation.


Listening is a crucial aspect of keeping a conversation going. Pay attention to what the other person is saying and show genuine interest by responding appropriately. Ask follow-up questions or repeat what they’ve said to clarify and keep the conversation moving forward. Practice your active listening skills, and remember that someone can always tell if you’re not listening. Make sure you avoid any distractions and give the other person the attention they deserve.

Being an active listener also helps you pick up on cues and prompts from the other person. This allows you to keep the conversation going in a natural, fluid manner. Additionally, active listening shows that you are engaged and invested in the conversation. This makes the other person feel valued, which means they will be more likely to open up.

Ask open-ended questions

It is crucial to ask open-ended questions when engaging in conversations, as these types of questions allow for a more meaningful and insightful dialogue. Open-ended questions do not have a fixed or specific answer but instead encourage the person being asked to elaborate and share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. For example, an open-ended question could be, “What is your family like?”

On the other hand, closed-ended questions only require a short answer. This can easily halt the conversation and prevent it from progressing. A closed-ended question would be, “Do you have a sister?”

how to keep a conversation going

Open-ended questions typically start with words like “what,” “how,” “why,” “describe,” or “tell me about.” These types of questions allow for a deeper understanding of someone’s thoughts and opinions. For example, instead of asking, “Did you enjoy your vacation?” which only requires a simple yes or no answer, try asking, “What was the best part about your vacation?” This will prompt the person to share more details and lead to a more engaging conversation.

Be aware of boundaries

As humans, we all have different opinions, beliefs, and values. This means that there will always be some topics that are considered taboo or controversial. These are subjects that can make people feel uncomfortable, angry, or defensive when brought up in conversation.

Taboo topics, such as death, mental illness, and sexuality, are often avoided in polite conversation. However, these subjects are an important part of the human experience and shouldn’t be ignored. It’s just a good idea to get to know someone before discussing these topics with them so you know how to approach the conversation in a respectful manner.

Here are some tips on how to navigate difficult topics when they come up in conversation and how to keep the conversation going:

  1. Steer the conversation towards neutral topics: If a conversation starts to head towards a taboo or controversial topic and you can sense that someone is uncomfortable, try to steer it towards more neutral subjects. This can help diffuse any tension and keep the conversation flowing.
  2. Acknowledge differences in opinions: If someone brings up a topic that you know is controversial, instead of avoiding it altogether, acknowledge that there are different opinions on the matter. This shows respect for their perspective while also avoiding an unconstructive argument.
  3. Use humor: Humor can be a great way to diffuse tension and keep the conversation going. However, it’s important to use humor carefully and avoid making jokes about sensitive subjects.

Remember, it’s important to respect the boundaries of others in order to maintain healthy relationships. As we mentioned, taboo topics shouldn’t be ignored but rather approached with sensitivity and respect.

Ultimately, discomfort and unease shouldn’t be a reason to avoid discussing these important subjects. In fact, talking about taboo topics can help break down barriers and dispel myths surrounding them. It also allows for open and honest dialogue, promoting understanding and empathy among individuals. It’s just that there’s a time and place for it.

Pay attention to your body language

It’s crucial to pay attention to your body language when it comes to keeping a conversation going because nonverbal cues can greatly impact the flow and dynamics of a conversation. Our body language can convey different emotions, attitudes, and intentions, which, if not aligned with our words, can lead to confusion or misinterpretation.

Here are some good examples of body language that you can use to keep the conversation going smoothly:

  1. Maintaining eye contact: Eye contact is about balance: too little, and it can seem like you’re not paying attention, but too much, and it can be intimidating.
  2. Leaning in: Leaning slightly towards the person you’re talking to indicates that you are paying attention and interested in what they have to say.
  3. Nodding: Nodding your head occasionally while someone is speaking shows that you are actively listening and that you understand them.
  4. Open posture: Avoid crossing your arms or legs, as it can make you seem defensive or closed off. Instead, keep an open and relaxed posture to show that you are receptive to the conversation.
  5. Mirroring body language: Subtly mirroring the other person’s body language can help create a sense of connection and understanding between the two of you.
  6. Smiling: A genuine smile can help to create a positive and friendly atmosphere, making it easier for the conversation to flow.
  7. Using hand gestures: Appropriate hand gestures can add emphasis and emotion to your words, making them more engaging.

Remember that body language is just as important as spoken words in communication. Be mindful of your nonverbal cues to keep the conversation going and make a good impression. So, next time you’re having a conversation, pay attention to your body language and use these examples to enhance your communication skills.

Ask for advice

how to keep a conversation going

If you find yourself stuck in a conversation, ask for advice or recommendations. This shows that you are actively listening and that you value the other person’s input. It also allows for the other person to share their knowledge and experiences with you, which can be a great learning opportunity.

When someone gives us advice or suggestions, it often reveals something about their personality or experiences. By asking for advice, we are creating an opportunity to get to know the other person on a deeper level and build a stronger connection. When we do this, we are also showing vulnerability, which can help foster trust and openness in the conversation. It allows for authentic conversations.

Furthermore, asking for advice or suggestions can help to avoid awkward silences or lulls in the conversation. It gives both parties something to talk about and keeps the momentum going. It also shows that you are invested in the conversation and your conversation partner’s point of view.

Give compliments

Giving compliments is a great way to keep a conversation going. It not only makes the other person feel good, but it also helps to build rapport and establish a positive connection between individuals.

When we give compliments, we are showing appreciation and recognition for something that the other person has done or said. This creates a sense of validation and can boost their self-esteem. As humans, we all crave validation, and compliments are a simple yet powerful way of fulfilling that need.

That said, you should make sure that your compliments are appropriate and don’t go overboard with them. For example, complimenting someone on their physical appearance is generally seen as inappropriate in a professional setting. Be aware of the cultural context in which you are giving compliments, too.

Giving compliments can ultimately lead to more meaningful conversations. When someone receives a compliment, they are likely to respond positively and engage in further dialogue. This creates a positive feedback loop where both individuals feel good about the conversation and are motivated to continue it.

Remember, for a compliment to be effective, it should be genuine and specific. Generic compliments can come off as insincere, so try to compliment something specific about the person or their actions.

Be positive

Having a positive attitude is crucial in keeping a conversation going because it sets the tone for the interaction. Approaching a conversation with a negative or closed mindset can quickly lead to an unproductive dynamic. On the other hand, maintaining a positive attitude creates an environment of openness and receptivity. This makes it easier for both parties to engage in meaningful dialogue.

A positive attitude also helps to build rapport and establish a connection with the person you are talking to. People are naturally drawn to those who exude positivity and optimism. This makes it more likely for them to actively participate in the conversation. By showing genuine interest and enthusiasm, you can bring an upbeat and joyful energy to a conversation.

Additionally, a positive attitude can help diffuse any potential conflicts or disagreements that may arise during the conversation. Instead of responding defensively or negatively, approaching the situation with positivity can lead to a more productive exchange of differing opinions. This creates a safe space for healthy debate and allows for the exploration of different perspectives.

Be genuine and authentic

One of the most important aspects of any conversation is being genuine and authentic. While it may seem easier to put on a facade or pretend to be someone else, being true to yourself and others is crucial for maintaining healthy relationships and keeping conversations going.

When you are genuine and authentic, you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable and open with others. This vulnerability allows people to connect with you on a deeper level and builds trust. It also shows that you have nothing to hide and are comfortable being your true self.

how to keep a conversation going

Being genuine also means being honest and transparent in your communication. This creates a safe space for others to express themselves openly and feel heard. When people feel heard, they are more likely to continue the conversation and share their thoughts and feelings.

How to navigate different types of conversations

In today’s digital age, there are various forms of communication that we come across on a daily basis. From traditional face-to-face interactions to modern methods such as phone calls, texting, and video calls, navigating these different modes of communication can be challenging.

One way to navigate the different forms of communication is by adapting to the medium of the conversation. For instance, while face-to-face interactions may require more nonverbal cues and body language, digital communication may rely more on written words and emoticons to convey emotions. Here’s how you can manage various types of interactions:

1. How to keep a face-to-face conversation going

  • Maintain eye contact: Eye contact conveys attention and respect. When you’re face-to-face with another person, it can be offputting and distracting if they’re not looking at you whilst in conversation. But as we mentioned, you need to find a balance because too much eye contact can be intimidating, so ensure you break the gaze every now and then.
  • Use body language: Non-verbal cues, such as nodding or leaning in, can show interest and engagement. If someone is facing their body away from the conversation or fiddling with something in their hand, this can stint the flow of a conversation and make people feel uncomfortable. Subtly mirror your conversation partner’s body language and show them you’re interested in what they are saying.
  • Show you are actively listening: Show that you’re engaged by responding appropriately, asking relevant questions, and paraphrasing their points to show understanding. This is important in all forms of conversation, but face-to-face allows you to really lean in, nod along, and show you’re being attentive.
  • Take in your surroundings: if you’re standing in front of a beautiful view, mention it. If you’ve spotted the other person’s amazing colored shoes, compliment them. Take in the context of your face-to-face conversation, and use it to your advantage to keep the conversation going.

2. How to keep a text conversation going

  • Respond timely: Don’t leave messages unanswered for too long. If you need time to think about your response, you can always let them know. Our attention spans are increasingly short in the modern world, so a great way to keep a conversation going is by responding promptly. It helps to maintain the momentum.
  • Be concise: Keep your messages short and to the point. Long texts can be overwhelming and difficult to respond to. Sometimes, you may need to go into detail for your messages, but for the majority of the time, try not to go overboard with unnecessary details. If the recipient of your text feels that they need to spend a long time trying to take in the message, this could cause the conversation to slow.
  • Ask open-ended questions: Instead of asking simple yes or no questions, ask open-ended questions that encourage the other person to share more about themselves and their thoughts. When it comes to text conversations, it’s even easier for chats to come to an end when you ask closed questions because people will be more prone to distractions.

3. How to keep a phone conversation going

  • Speak clearly: Without visual cues, clarity in speech is crucial. Ensure your voice is clear and audible. You may not be able to use your body language to show you’re engaged, but you can make encouraging noises to let the person know you’re still listening to them.
  • Use appropriate tone: Your tone should match the conversation’s context. Be formal for business calls and more casual for friends and family. Respond to the other person’s energy. If you’re too loud or brash when the other person is more reserved and polite, this could stunt the flow of the conversation.
  • Show patience: Allow the other person to finish speaking before responding. Cutting people off and interrupting are sure-fire ways to make other people feel ignored, belittled, or dismissed. Don’t be afraid of silence: it can give you both space to think, and it doesn’t mean that the conversation is going to end. Taking a pause can actually add depth to any conversation.

Example questions to keep a conversation going

if you’re ever stuck when it comes to how to keep the conversation going, these question examples will help you. It’s never a bad idea to prepare some conversation starters and questions beforehand. Sometimes, conversations will end naturally, or you might have a brain blank on what to say, so these example questions should help you if needed. By preparing beforehand, you can lessen the potential stress of starting a conversation.

Questions about their work/school:

  1. Have you always been interested in the field of [insert whichever career path they have chosen]? Or did you discover that later in life?
  2. What made you choose to study [insert school topic]?
  3. What’s the best and hardest part of your work?
  4. I’d like to understand more about [insert their chosen study topics]. Can you explain more about it to me, please?
  5. Did you ever think you were going to be a [insert their job title]? What career path did you want to pursue when you were younger?

Questions about their childhood:

  1. Where did you grow up?
  2. Do you go back to your hometown very often?
  3. What was the town/city/area like?
  4. Do you have a favorite memory of your hometown growing up?
  5. Would you ever move back to where you grew up?

Questions about their interests/hobbies:

  1. What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
  2. What hobbies have you always wanted to try?
  3. Do you have any niche interests or obsessions? What could you talk about forever?
  4. Did you have any hobbies as a kid that you would like to get back into now as an adult?
  5. What sparked your interest in [insert hobby they have mentioned], and how long have you been doing it?

Questions about their life:

  1. Where is your favorite place to travel to, and why?
  2. Have you read any great books recently? What made them great?
  3. What is something that always makes you laugh?
  4. What’s your favorite season and why?
  5. What’s your favorite meal to cook/eat right now?

Final thoughts on how to keep a conversation going

Keeping a conversation flowing freely doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the guidance, do’s and dont’s, and examples in this blog post, you can rest assured knowing that you are well equipped with the tools needed to master the art of conversation.

Remember, better conversations lead to deeper connections and this can quite literally change your life. These meaningful connections can benefit your relationships and your health. They can also bring more joy into your life and open up new opportunities.

So try incorporating these tips into your life and see how they can help you build better conversations and deeper connections with others. When it comes to how to keep a conversation going, you know now that there are a number of helpful practices and tips you can follow to help improve your skills.

Anyway, we’re here with our list if you ever need a reminder of how to help you keep a conversation going. Good luck, and we hope you find the meaningful connections you deserve.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like our article about How to Build a Connection: 19 Tried-and-Tested Tips.

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