How to take control of a conversation

by on September 15th, 2010
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Arriving late to a conversation is like watching people kiss. They don’t mind doing it in front of you, but they’re reluctant to let you get involved.

The trick for joining a conversation is a soft touch. Unfortunately, kissers find being softly touched creepy, unless they don’t realise it’s you.

Remember, you don’t want to hijack the conversation. If your only tactic is to talk louder than them, and dazzle them with volume, then this is tantamount to Chat Rape, or Chape. Nobody likes a Chapist, so slip in softly, so to speak.


In your eagerness to get a word in, you may forget to keep it relevant. Try to focus on their words that stirred a reaction in you, and go from there. You could use this template, “That’s interesting that you should mention the elderly, Mark, because my grandmother is elderly.” Notice how I linked Mark’s point about the elderly with something relevant to my own life? You’ll also notice how I used Mark’s name, making it more personal to him. This is how friends are made.


So you’ve learned how to tangent from another’s remark, just remember to keep it tasteful and above board. If your boss tells you that his wife’s name is Katrina, then the correct response is to remark on her pretty name, and not say, “Makes sense, she looks like a natural disaster.”

Incremental Contributions

So as not to appear a threat to the conversation, start small with grunts of agreement and monosyllables of approval. Once this has gone unchallenged, systemically double your input; shoehorning remarks, asides and anecdotes into every pause available. Before they know it, you will have wrestled complete autonomous control, shrinking the trialogue into an exquisite monologue. My favourite kind of log.

With the conversation in your dominion, you’ll have free license to espouse on whatever takes your fancy. I recommend the sort of things that are usually hard to segue into. Like balloon animals, and logs.

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Categories: Advice

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