The art of good conversation centers very much on your ability to ask questions and to listen attentively to the answers.

You can lace the conversation with your insights, ideas, and opinions, but you perfect the art and skill of conversation by perfecting the art and skill of asking good, well-worded questions that direct the conversation and give other people an opportunity to express themselves.

Ask Open Ended Questions
Ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." Open-ended questions encourage the speaker to expand on his thoughts and comments. And one question will lead to another. You can ask open-ended questions almost endlessly, drawing out of the other person everything that he or she has to say on a particular subject.

Be Content to Listen
In order to be an excellent conversationalist, you must resist the urge to dominate the discussion. The very best conversationalists seem to be low-key, easy-going, cheerful, and genuinely interested in the other person. They seem to be quite content to listen when other people are talking and they make their own contributions to the dialogue rather short and to the point.

Learn the secrets to communicating in How to Talk: Secrets of the Great Communicators + Bonuses!

Share the Opportunity to Talk
In fact, good conversation has an easy ebb and flow, like the tide coming in and going out. Whether it is between two people or among several, the conversation should shift back and forth, with each person getting an opportunity to talk. Conversation in this sense is like a ball that is tossed from person to person, with no one holding on to it for very long.

If you feel that you have been talking for too long, you should stop and ask a question of someone in the group. You will be tossing the conversational ball and giving that individual an opportunity to converse.

Learn to Listen Well
Listening is the most important of all skills for successful conversation. Many people are very poor listeners. Since everyone enjoys talking, it takes a real effort to practice the fundamentals of excellent listening and to make them a habit.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, make a habit of asking good, open-ended questions of others in every conversation and in response to problems or difficulties. This shows interest and increases your understanding.

Second, take a deep breath, relax and let the other person talk more. Practice over and over until you become an excellent listener.

How to Talk: Secrets of the Great Communicators + Bonuses!

Author's Bio: 

Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations.

Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined.

Brian Tracy has consulted for more than 1,000 companies and addressed more than 4,000,000 people in 4,000 talks and seminars throughout the US, Canada and 40 other countries worldwide. As a Keynote speaker and seminar leader, he addresses more than 250,000 people each year.

He has studied, researched, written and spoken for 30 years in the fields of economics, history, business, philosophy and psychology. He is the top selling author of over 45 books that have been translated into dozens of languages.

You can learn more about Brian by reading his blog or visiting his website.