You know what’s annoying? When people assume that introverts are quiet because we have nothing to say. The truth is, introverts have rich imaginations, and thoughts to fill the galaxies. And yet, it’s hard for us to verbalize our thoughts, especially when talking to someone new. If you’ve ever been completely tongue-tied in conversation, congratulations.
You’ve experienced what millions of introverts have felt before you. We all know the pain of feeling like a dope because we don’t know what to say. And judging by the thousands of messages I get from readers and students, introverts all over the world are suffering because of this problem. And it’s not our fault.
Research shows that information travels along longer neural pathways in an introvert’s brain. That’s why it takes us longer to find the right words. Luckily, knowing what to say is easier when you prepare ahead.
Having go-to topics, conversation starters, and questions in your back pocket is key for introverts. I’ve compiled some of the best ones for you in my Introvert Conversation Cheat Sheet.
But prep can only get you so far. Every introvert knows that sinking feeling you get when you realize you’ve reached a conversation dead end. Your mind goes blank and you have no idea what to say to get things going again.
If that’s something you struggle with, here’s an advanced strategy to keep a conversation going, even if you’re quiet and introverted like me:
Don’t answer the question being asked
This might seem counterintuitive, but hear me out. You’ll see this smart conversation tip being applied in nearly every celebrity interview. The celeb answers a question, but not exactly the one being asked.
Interviewer: how’s your day going?
Celebrity: Well, I’m exhausted because I’ve been doing a lot of press for my new movie.
I have to admit I used this strategy a lot when I did radio interviews for my first book The Irresistible Introvert. When interviewers would ask me general questions about introversion, I would say, “Well, in my book, The Irresistible Introvert, I talk about how introverts have unique communication challenges.”
Now, I know you might be wondering…
How can I apply this tip in everyday conversations?
It’s easy to use this strategy in any conversation. And you absolutely should because it’s a simple way to keep the conversation going. Not only that.
It also provides ample ‘conversation fruit’ for you or your partner to take the conversation in different, more interesting directions. Here’s how to do it.
Instead of giving literal answers to questions like, “how has your day been?” and “What’s new with you?” answer a related question you wish they’d asked.
You could pretend they asked you what the highlight of your day was, and tell a story about something cool that happened.
Or you could pretend they asked what’s new in your relationships (it’s always easier for introverts to answer questions that are a bit more specific), and talk about your new girlfriend/boyfriend and how you met.
Trust me, the person you’re talking to won’t mind. They’ll be grateful that you’re offering ample fruit to keep the conversation going.
Combine today’s strategy for keeping the conversation going with the tools in my Introvert Conversation Cheat Sheet, and you’ll always know what to say.
Over to you
Do you get tongue-tied in conversation? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂