How to keep a conversation going: complete guide

how to keep a conversation going

Outlines how to keep a conversation going in any situation, with particular tips for how to keep the conversation going with a girl or guy and how to keep a conversation going over text.

Find more health and life guides, tips and advice

Whether at a party, at work, on the train or in the park. It’s not that easy to keep a good conversation going, especially if we’ve only known the person you’re talking to for a few seconds or minutes.

Conversations open up opportunities to get to know people better and better. Maybe it will become a valuable networking contact, friendship or even more. And that’s exactly why you should be able to not let conversations end abruptly, but rather get the best out of them. So follow the strategies below for how to keep the convo going effortlessly.

How to keep a conversation going

We encounter ‘small talk’ every day in our everyday life, be it private or business. Some people seem to be true artists in this. It is easy for them to get into conversation with everyone and to build sympathy. In this article we will show you what you have to pay attention to in order to be able to count yourself among this group of people in a short time – because: Small talk can be learned!

Look your counterpart in the eye

In a good conversation, it is very important that you look the other person in the eye. This is the only way you can give him or her the feeling that you are fully committed to the matter and are listening carefully. 

Many people find it difficult to look someone in the eye for long periods of time. You look nervously to the side or at the floor. These are signs of uncertainty. If you find it difficult and this is a great challenge for you… practise! Practise with your family, your friends, your colleagues — even your pet!

Use their name

Do you know which word a person warms to most? Exactly, their name. People may not even realise it, but they are more engaged in a conversation where their name is used. Research shows it activates parts of the brain. And as they warm to the conversation, it will make it easier for you to keep it going.

Show interest

If you really want to keep the conversation going, you need to clearly show your interest in the other person. Because if you seem disinterested, the conversation will end very quickly. 

Therefore, pay attention to your body language and posture. Don’t turn away from the otherparty. Stand exactly opposite. Of course, the distance should not be too small, otherwise it can be very intrusive. And if you are sitting, the position directly opposite is most ideal.

Just don’t cross your arms in front of your chest or put your “heavy” head in your hand. This seems very disrespectful and disinterested.


Put on a slight smile, but make sure it doesn’t seem too artificial. Because if you are friendly and personable  to the other, the conversation will be much easier to keep going. 

Ask questions

The best way to keep a conversation going is to ask questions to your interlocutors. Ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with yes or no. Let questions flow into the conversation.

– “Tell me more about your hobby.”
– “What is your favorite film?”
– “What is your favorite dish?”
– “What was your best vacation?”
– “What did you do last week?”
– “How was your weekend? ”

But you have to make sure that you don’t ask too many. Above all, the questions should be well chosen. Questions that are too private and personal are an absolute no-go. Even questions that only require a “yes” or “no” answer are not the best strategies.

Always take up the situation to establish connection points between the two of you. Because if you haven’t known the other for a long time, you know next to nothing about each other.

To put this feeling in the background, however, you can address the weather, the buffet at the party or the long journey time on the train. Because you have these points in common at the same moment. A connection can thus be established very quickly.

As mentioned earlier, the questions can’t be too personal and profound. Because this can quickly evoke a defensive attitude on the part of the counterpart. In addition, people who ask too many questions appear nervous and insecure.

So don’t ask questions all the time, but tell something about yourself. For example, if the other person answered, you can relate the question you asked to yourself.

The right topics to talk about

The right topics of conversation are the be-all and end-all of a successful conversation that is fun for both parties and, ideally, brings added value. But what exactly should you talk about? You don’t really know each other …

First of all, it must be clarified in which context the conversation takes place. Is it a new work colleague or are you on a date? When it comes to professional conversations, private topics and feelings are usually not a good choice. And that’s why you should distance yourself from the personal level here.

However, if you want to score points on a date, you can also go deeper on the personal level. It’s up to you how far you want to go. In general, current events are a very good topic.

However, you should make sure that these are not too negative and disturbing. Above all, you don’t even know the political attitude of your counterpart, for example. When it comes to politics, one should perhaps be careful first. Because the conversation shouldn’t turn into a discussion.

Assess your situation carefully and try to determine for yourself which topics are appropriate for the conversation. And look at each other’s reactions. Because you can quickly tell from this whether you can keep the conversation going.

Don’t interrupt

You should definitely not interrupt the other person. Always let her or him finish. Think about what you want to say, but wait until they have finished talking before you say it.

Your cell phone also plays a crucial role here. Because this should be taboo during the conversation unless you have an important business call or family call. It is simply not possible that you suddenly look at your cell phone and be distracted by messages or photos. This is exactly why you should first stow your cell phone in your pocket.

Mistakes to avoid

In the following section we want to highlight the typical mistakes that are made again and again during conversation and that can lead to delicate situations.

Avoid violating the other person’s privacy. It is best to refrain from asking private questions about money, relationships, or illnesses.

Always bring up positive topics, do not complain about yourself or the world. This can trigger negative feelings in your counterpart and become a conversation stopper.

Do not force topics on your interlocutor. When you realize they don’t want to talk about it, talk about something else.

No compliments on figure, age or appearance unless this is a date. Only compliment clothes or hair when it is evident that effort has been made in these areas, or there is something about them you genuinely find attractive or interesting.

Do not look at the clock or around at the room, it shows disinterest.

Do not focus on yourself. Avoid being opinionated and listen other points of view. Never force your opinion on your counterpart and do not exude superiority, that makes you unappealing. Even if you’re right, mention your view politely or keep it to yourself.

Good small talk topics

Here are some good topics that have proven themselves in small talk.

– Politicians or current events
– Hobbies
– Clubs
– Movies
– Sports
– Celebrities
– Current fashion trend
– News
– Disasters
– Events
– Cities
– Travel and vacation
– Looking for advice and help
– Experiences and stories from your life
– Own talents (in moderation)
– Praise for the performance of the counterpart

How to keep the conversation going with a girl

It’s time to ask questions. Get to know them and ask about their likes and dislikes. But and absolutely: don’t bombard them with questions! This is not an interrogation.

Depending on the answers about likes and dislikes, ask her opinion about something in that area.

Example 1: If she has said she likes movies, ask her if she thinks movies are getting better these days or not, and which ones she particularly recommeds.

Example 2: If she said she likes a particular music genre or performer, ask questions about it.

Example 3: If she said she likes keeping abreast of politics and current affairs, ask her opinion on the latest news.

Example 4: If she said she likes art, ask her opinion on galleries or exhibitions that she would recommend.

Example 5: If she said she likes shopping, ask her opinion on the best areas or shops to go for particular items.

Example 6: If she said she likes travel, ask her opinion of great places to see and why.

Example 7: If she’s interested in computer games, ask her where she thinks the technology is heading.

If she doesn’t answer your questions right away, don’t push her… give her time. Sometimes you just don’t want to reveal everything right away and that’s okay.

Of course, if she answers questions, comment on her answers and maybe you can tell your own story on one topic or another. Just have a healthy mix of questions and comments. Also give her the opportunity to ask you questions.

How to keep the conversation going with a guy

As with the tips above for how to keep the conversation going with a girl, it’s pretty much the same set of strategies. Use open-ended questions that tell you something about them.

Ask him to elaborate on his answers. If you can’t think of a specific aspect, say something like: “That’s interesting… tell me more.”

If you’re at a party or restaurant, talk about the room.

Ask him about his hobbies. If he plays sport or works out, get him to tell you about the sport, or about his workout goals.

If he’s interested in computer games, ask him where he thinks the technology is heading.

How to keep a conversation going over text

All the above applies, plus these special strategies:

Pay attention to your tone

The thing about text messages is that they can sometimes be misinterpreted. What could be a sarcastic and funny comment could come across as biting and mean without your input of facial expressions or tone of voice.

Always read your texts quickly before you send them off. Ask yourself if someone who doesn’t know you well might misunderstand what you said. If there’s even a hint of doubt, rewrite your text.

On the other hand, you could exaggerate so much that it is obvious to your text partner that you made a joke. It is very difficult to get your intent across correctly via text message (face to face sometimes too) and a fine line you have to juggle.

Don’t use too many abbreviations and emojis

Adults write out words. Hey, you have a dictation function on your smartphone, so how lazy do you want to be ?! If you abbreviate too many words, add spelling mistakes, or even use poor grammar or punctuation, it doesn’t shed a good light on you.

If you’re not good at all of these things, it doesn’t matter. As I said, use the dictation function. Nevertheless, read the message before sending it. Don’t depend on the autocorrect! The smartphone can misunderstand you and write sex instead of socks (or the other way around).

How to tell when someone doesn’t want to talk to you

Even if you follow all of the above in this article, there will still be people who are not interested in talking to you. In the following, we will list some signs that you can use to recognize that a conversation with you is not desired.

– turning the body away
– wandering gaze
– no eye contact
– short, choppy answers
– tense posture and facial expressions
– feet turned away

How to end a conversation

Finally, we would like to show you how you can end a conversation small talk successfully. The following approaches have proven themselves:

– Mention an appointment you have to keep.
– If it is a work situation, mention that you have to speak to somebody else in the room about a project or similar, and tell your counterpart you hope to talk to them again, then say goodbye.
– Integrate new poeple into the conversation and then say goodbye.