If someone uses these 10 phrases, they’re a great conversationalist (according to psychology)

There’s an art to great conversation. It’s not just about what you say but how you say it.

A great conversationalist knows how to use the right phrases at the right time. They understand that certain words can engage, inspire and invite others to open up.

According to psychology, there are 10 phrases that are key to this skill. If you hear someone using these phrases, they’re likely a master in the art of conversation.

Let’s dive in and explore these magic phrases that make someone a truly great conversationalist.

1) Tell me more…

We often find ourselves in conversations where we’re not just expected to listen but to actively participate.

Great conversationalists know the secret to keeping the conversation flowing is not always about what they have to say, but rather, encouraging others to express their thoughts and ideas.

Enter the magic phrase: “Tell me more.”

This phrase conveys interest and curiosity. It invites the speaker to delve deeper into their narrative, ideas or opinions, validating their importance in the conversation.

“Tell me more” creates space for expansion and exploration. It encourages a two-way exchange, making the conversation richer and more engaging for both parties.

But remember, sincerity is key. Use this phrase only when you genuinely want to hear more about the topic at hand. Inauthenticity can easily be spotted and it can turn a promising conversation sour.

2) I can relate to that…

There’s something incredibly comforting about knowing that someone else understands what you’re going through. It creates a sense of connection and camaraderie.

When I was at a networking event last year, I met someone who was struggling with a career transition, much like I did a few years ago. Instead of just nodding and moving on to another topic, I said, “I can relate to that.”

I then shared my own experiences, the challenges I faced, and how I overcame them. This opened up a deeper level of conversation between us and built a connection that still exists today.

Using the phrase “I can relate to that” not only shows empathy but also invites the other person to open up more. It assures them that they are not alone in their experiences, making the conversation more meaningful and memorable.

Just remember, it’s important to be genuine when using this phrase. If you can’t truly relate to what the other person is saying, it’s better to show understanding in another way instead of pretending to have had a similar experience.

3) That’s interesting…

The phrase “That’s interesting” holds more power than we may realize. It’s not just an idle comment. It signals to the speaker that you are present, engaged and open to learning more about their perspective, ideas or experiences.

When we acknowledge something as interesting, we stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It’s part of our brain’s reward system and is released when we experience something new, exciting or challenging.

So, by declaring something as “interesting”, you’re not only validating the speaker’s contribution but also enhancing your own enjoyment and mental engagement in the conversation.

However, it’s essential to use this phrase judiciously. Overuse can make it seem insincere or even sarcastic. Use it when you genuinely find a point or idea intriguing and are eager to explore it further.

4) I hadn’t thought of it that way…

One of the true marks of a great conversationalist is their willingness to learn and see things from different perspectives. The phrase “I hadn’t thought of it that way” is a straightforward yet effective way to demonstrate this.

Using this phrase shows that you’re not only listening to the speaker’s point of view but also considering it. It conveys respect for their perspective and appreciation for the new insight they’ve provided.

This phrase helps build a more dynamic conversation where ideas are exchanged and respected, rather than just shared. It promotes a deeper understanding and encourages the speaker to share more of their thoughts and ideas.

Again, sincerity is key. Use this phrase when someone truly provides a new angle or perspective that you hadn’t previously considered. It’s about appreciating the value in others’ viewpoints, not just paying lip service.

5) I completely understand…

The ability to empathize is a key trait of a great conversationalist. The phrase “I completely understand” is a simple yet powerful way to show empathy towards the speaker’s situation or feelings.

When you say “I completely understand,” it shows the speaker that their feelings or experiences are valid and that they’re not alone. It creates a safe space for them to express themselves without fear of judgment or criticism.

Furthermore, it can help to defuse tension in difficult conversations and pave the way for more open, honest dialogue. It signals that you’re on their side, fostering a sense of trust and mutual respect.

However, it’s important to only use this phrase if you genuinely do understand. Misusing it can come across as insincere or dismissive. Always ensure that your words align with your true feelings and understanding.

6) You’re doing great…

Acknowledgement and encouragement can go a long way in sustaining a conversation. The phrase “You’re doing great” is a powerful tool for this.

In a conversation where someone is sharing their struggles, challenges, or achievements, this phrase can provide much-needed validation and motivation. It’s a subtle but effective way to show that you appreciate their efforts and believe in their ability to overcome.

I remember a conversation with a friend who was battling anxiety. I could see her courage and determination, even in her vulnerability. I told her, “You’re doing great,” and I saw her face light up with renewed strength.

Remember to use this phrase genuinely and at the right moments. Authentic encouragement can be a ray of light in someone’s day, but empty flattery can have the opposite effect. It’s all about recognizing the efforts of others and appreciating them sincerely.

7) I’ve been there before…

There’s something comforting about knowing someone else has walked the path you’re currently on. The phrase “I’ve been there before” can provide this comfort.

After losing my job a few years back, I found myself in numerous conversations with friends and acquaintances about unemployment and job hunting. Whenever someone would share their fears and frustrations, I would tell them, “I’ve been there before,” and then share my own experiences.

This phrase doesn’t just show empathy; it also offers reassurance. It tells the speaker that they’re not alone, that their feelings are normal, and that things can get better.

But remember, honesty is crucial. Only use this phrase if you truly have experienced something similar. False empathy can feel hollow and may damage your credibility in the conversation.

8) I don’t know…

It may seem like a great conversationalist should have an answer for everything, but that’s far from the truth. The phrase “I don’t know” can actually be a powerful tool in conversation.

Admitting you don’t know something shows humility and honesty. It opens the door for others to share their knowledge and expertise. This can lead to a more balanced and enriching conversation where everyone feels valued and respected.

“I don’t know” also highlights your willingness to learn and grow. It shows that you value truth over appearances and are open to new ideas and perspectives.

So next time you’re unsure about something in a conversation, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” You might be surprised at how it deepens the discussion.

9) What’s your take on this?

A great conversationalist knows that a good conversation is a two-way street. The phrase “What’s your take on this?” invites the other person to share their thoughts and opinions, fostering a more balanced and engaging dialogue.

By asking for their perspective, you’re showing that you value their opinion and want to understand their viewpoint. This not only encourages them to open up more, but also builds mutual respect and understanding.

This phrase works well in both casual conversations and more serious discussions. It can stimulate deeper thinking, reveal new insights, and even spark healthy debates.

Remember, though, it’s not just about asking the question. Once they share their take, make sure to listen actively and respond thoughtfully to show that you genuinely care about their input.

10) Thank you for sharing…

At the heart of every good conversation is the art of appreciation. The simple phrase “Thank you for sharing” is a powerful way to show your gratitude and acknowledge the other person’s contribution to the conversation.

This phrase conveys that you value their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It shows that you appreciate their honesty and openness, encouraging them to share more in the future.

Saying “Thank you for sharing” can make the other person feel heard, appreciated, and respected. It’s a small but impactful way to create a positive and meaningful conversation.

At the heart of it: Connection

The magic of human interaction lies in its ability to forge connections and foster understanding.

The phrases we’ve explored are much more than just words. They’re bridges that facilitate meaningful exchanges, encouraging openness, empathy, and respect.

Psychology suggests that when we use these phrases, we’re not just enhancing our conversational skills but also nurturing our relationships.

We’re fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding. We’re affirming the other person’s feelings, thoughts and experiences, making them feel heard and valued.

Whether it’s a casual chat with a friend or a serious discussion with a colleague, these phrases can transform the quality of our interactions.

As Carl W. Buehner wisely said, “They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

So the next time you engage in a conversation, remember the power of your words. Use them wisely to build bridges, not walls. After all, every conversation is an opportunity to make a lasting impression and foster a meaningful connection.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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