The most interesting conversations aren’t about news, or politics, or sports: they are about emotions. Advertisers have known that for decades and use it to sell more product.
No one buys a Rolex because they need one, they buy it because it makes them feel significant.
Do the same! Stop making people think and start making them feel and you will end up in the most interesting conversations--even with people you deemed boring before.
Here is how I learned to do it and how you can too.
Have an emotional opinion
"What do you think about the deforestation in the Amazon rainforest?" You probably won't have much of an opinion about topics like this unless you have concerned yourself with it before.
In school and especially later, in college and university, you learn to have an opinion on topics ranging from abortion to the war on drugs. But who ever taught you about emotional opinions?
Probably no one, but don't worry! I'll be your exchange teacher for a moment.
The whole process is laughably simple. Whenever something noteworthy happens in your life, ask yourself: "How do I feel about this?"
Let's practice with examples:
- You are about to start a new job: "I feel excited because this job poses new opportunities to my career, but I am also nervous because I feel like I have to prove myself."
- You just graduated from university: "I feel incredibly happy and proud but the feelings are bittersweet because I still have no idea what I want to do next."
- You reconnected with an old friend after 15 years: “At first it felt awkward because he was basically a stranger after all this time. But after a few minutes I could feel that what connected us in the past prevailed and we had the best time ever.”
Tapping into emotion is not only key in romantic relationships.
Now that you know how you feel, ask yourself how others might feel, e.g., “How could that make them feel?” or “How would I feel in this situation?” It’s basically verbalized empathy.
When someone tells you: "I’m thinking about moving to Germany", they don't want you to suggest cities with low crime rates and good health care. They want to tell you about their inner fights and why they feel they have to go.
Practice having and expressing emotional opinions and your conversations will become more interesting. Guaranteed!
Talk about passions
A special form of talking about emotions is when you or someone else talks about something they are passionate about.
Everyone has passions, sometimes hidden, but everyone has them.
When a friend of yours tells you (or a group) that she went horseback riding and had an amazing time, don’t ask “Where did you go?”, rather, ask “I have never gone horseback riding. What makes it so exciting?” I guarantee you that any person who is passionate about the topic will not only teach you a ton--in an interesting way--but will also like you more and feel closer to you afterwards.
In case you have no idea what the other person is passionate about, just ask: “What are you passionate about?”
This question alone will unleash a fascinating conversation.
3 reasons I love talking about passions:
- It makes people speak with excitement, which makes it interesting to listen.
- You learn a lot new things. Recently a friend took me and four other friends disc golfing. He explained the rules, showed us various techniques, and even managed to get us a steep discount at the course. All because we let him express his passion.
- People will love you for it, and as a result they will want to be around you.
People who love sports are often passionate about it.
People are constantly crying out for attention to their emotions, but seldom someone listens. Those who do are rewarded with lifelong friendships, exciting romances, and happy relationships. Keep that in mind!
Have fun practicing!
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