When a conversation feels like a world of opportunity, instead of a burden, you're likely speaking to a highly engaging communicator. You could listen to them for hours. The conversation is rewarding and you feel excited the entire time. Why can't all conversations be like this? Well, they can be for you, if you pay attention to the habits of highly engaging communicators and inject them into your own conversations.
1. They go beyond small talk
They have a twinkle in their eye when you speak to them and you can just tell they are willing to take the conversation to a different place. They go a little deeper than the surface, how deep typically depending on the recipient. The most important point here is that engaging speakers, are not afraid to take conversations outside of the norm and that is what makes them so captivating.
2. They have energy
This is a mix between animation and charisma. It's often difficult to articulate but when you speak with them you feel energized. They give you ideas, inspiration and will take your mind to new places. They are not overboard, or obnoxious but their gesticulations, make you excited and draw you into their words until you lose track of time.
3. They make it personal
They are not afraid of taking you into their personal life. They don't play poker, they play honesty with a dash of vulnerability and this makes them incredibly engaging. We are far more likely to relate to people when they share personal stories. We are also more likely to remember these anecdotes because during the story we relate it back to ourselves. It's an excellent method for leaving a footprint in the mind of your audience.
4. They illustrate why you should care
They don't just spew their story and expect you to like it, they make a point of illustrating why they are telling you this particular story. They deliver everything with meaning. They give you context and ensure to explain what the point meant for them and what it can mean for you.
5. They ask questions
Conversations are not a one-way street and engaging communicators know this very well. They won't speak for too long without asking for input from their audience. They don't want to monopolize the conversation, so they make sure to ask questions. Conversations should be a win/win for all those involved, not a one-man show.
6. They tell stories
The most engaging communicators are also wonderful storytellers. Stories are not only entertaining but they also help to bring context and detail to descriptions that could otherwise feel intangible. They create 3D conversations. You start to attach images to the words you hear and even take yourself into the story. I have written extensively on the value of storytelling here and how to include it in your own communications.
7. They make eye contact
Eye contact builds fire. When someone stares into your eyes, you become more present. It's no wonder that the most engaging communicators are well versed in the art of eye contact. Not too much, otherwise it's intrusive but just the right amount of eye contact to make their recipient(s) feel engaged and almost, special. Eye contact demonstrates that the speaker is devoting their full attention to the conversation and usually, they can expect the same in return.