How do we avoid awkward silences in conversations?
That silence is uncomfortable. When we encounter this awkward silence, we sometimes pick up our phones and start scrolling. Eventually, everyone we’re with does the same. And we begin to wonder whether we’re really connecting with each other… or just to our phones? Why do we get together in-person if our phones are more important than the people around us?
It can be especially hard to try and strike up a conversation with someone when there’s nothing to say. What do you talk about? The weather?
But do we really not have anything to say? Or do we feel our lives are so uninteresting there’s nothing to talk about? After all, life’s the same every day. If you find nothing interesting in your daily activities, then how would someone else find it interesting?
That’s a total misconception.
Everyone is interesting in their own way. Everyone has something to share. The question is how do you share about yourself in a way that’s interesting to others.
You know how some of us have been told we shouldn’t talk about ourselves but should spend more time and energy trying to listen to other people, because people love to talk about themselves and so the best thing we can do is listen.
Although people like to share about themselves, they also want to hear more about you. This is especially true with people who’re close to us – our partner, families, friends, and colleagues.
Just think for a moment. Do you have something you’re curious about with your partner, family, friends, or even colleagues? That’s your proof. Other people will also have something they’re curious about us too.
It’s just that sometimes we feel we’re so uninteresting that we don’t want to talk. We can’t find anything others may be interested in, and we stop talking.
And who can blame us?
Most generic advice doesn’t work past a superficial level
The first piece of advice you normally get is that we should ask questions. Yes, you should ask questions in a conversation, but how do you know what questions to ask?
If you keep asking questions, the other person in the conversation might start to feel like you’re interrogating them. This makes the conversation stressful (and not fun). So you still need to be able to talk and contribute to the conversation. Thinking you’ve got nothing to talk about isn’t helpful.
The second piece of advice you get is to listen. If you apply this advice literally, you’ll try and find ways to get the people you’re speaking with to continually talk about themselves. You’ll ask them question after question and you hope they keep talking.
But this advice only works for people who’re willing to talk. What if you meet someone who, like you, doesn’t feel he has anything to talk about? Do you both keep quiet then?
The other problem with this advice? If you only listen to the other person and you don’t get a chance to talk about yourself, you still don’t come out of the conversation happy. You’ll be drained instead. Why? Because we all need a listening ear – and we truly like to talk about ourselves when we have a chance to. The equation isn’t balanced if you only listen and don’t talk.
The third piece of advice you hear is to be interested. Yes, being interested helps you ask questions about the other person so you can contribute to the conversation. But would being interested in someone make you an interesting person? It still doesn’t solve the problem where you don’t feel there’s something mutually interesting to share.
Plus, what if the other person loves talking about something you have absolutely no interest in? Do you sit down and smile and pretend you’re interested in the conversation? That’s a surefire way to become miserable.
So how can we break the silence?
How can we find something we’re interested to talk about?
How can we become interesting to others while being interested in others at the same time?
Finding the interesting in you (and in others)
When we are able to become more interesting, we naturally open up and converse more. We inject more energy into the conversation, and everyone begins to light up. Everyone begins talking as well and everyone has enjoyable conversations.
What if you can get so interesting and so natural at conversations that you’re able to walk into a room and:
- 💬 Know exactly how to find what everyone has in common what to talk about that you know everyone will enjoy
- 💬 Be able to pivot conversations from those that are uninteresting to you to those who everyone is interested in
- 💬 Become interested in other people regardless of what the conversation is about, so you learn something new in each conversation you find yourself in
- 💬 Are able to break the awkward silence with something interesting about your every single time
- 💬 Enjoy every conversation you find yourself in
It’s possible. The ability to have good conversations is a skill that can be learned. There are principles you can apply to become more interesting and to open to yourself and others.
We’d like to share these principles with you so you can enjoy your conversations with the people you care about – your partner, family, friends, colleagues, or even new people you meet.
Who are we?
We are a group of volunteers who’re running this thing we call the OI Movement. We seek to help people improve their social and conversational skills so they can have deeper and more meaningful conversations with people they care about – their partners, families, friends, and colleagues.
We created a workshop called the OI Workshop that’s designed to help you become more interesting and open as a person – so you you can be the one to create enjoyable conversations for everyone everywhere you go.
What is OI?
OI is a pretty cool name. It stands for Open and Interesting. These are the attributes we’re trying to spread with the workshop.
OI is also a common term used for casual greeting across many countries and cultures. It can be friendly or angry depending on how it is used, so even using a simple exclamation like OI requires intention and skill, very much like how our conversations depend on our intention and skill as well.
We’d love to bring OI to you!
The OI Workshop
The OI Workshop gives you the tools and techniques to:
- 💬 Become an interesting person so others love listening to you and enjoy the conversations you bring to the table.
- 💬 Become more open to conversations so you can include people and make the environment fun, open, and curious.
It’s completely free! (No strings attached. We simply want to contribute back to the world).
We’re opening registration slots for our Aug and Sep workshop , SGT 10am to 12pm! Convert to your timezone.
We have limited seats for each workshop. Seats are first-come-first-served so fill in the form if you’re interested!
If the workshop is full, we’ll arrange for you to participate in the next available workshop.
Let’s OI Together!
While it is important to be a good listener in a conversation, you can’t always be the person who’s listening and not talking. If you’re not talking, you’re not contributing to the conversation, and nobody will understand what you think and feel.
We all love the company of people who make us feel authentic and real. If we can’t allow ourselves to become authentic inside a conversation, how can we find the company of people who allow us to be real? Consider that.
What if we can become both real and interesting at the same time?
We’d love to invite you to join the OI workshop. Let’s become more open and interesting together! And let’s bring more joy and fun to the people we care about.
Let’s OI Together!
The OI Team