As Winston Churchill once said: "A fanatic is someone who cannot change his mind and does not want to change the subject." Once you make up your mind to dislike the topic of an ongoing conversation or feel like the other person is uncomfortable, you have several options to steer the conversation in another direction.
Part 1 of 3: Move on to another topic
Step 1. Prepare in advance
If you think you will find yourself in a situation where you will have to talk with several strangers, prepare 2 or 3 topics for chatting before your arrival.
Pick topics that may interest a lot of people. Hobbies, sports and gadgets are great topics to start a discussion
Step 2. Focus on the person you're talking to
Since people like to talk about themselves, focusing on who you are talking to is an effective way to ease the transition to a new topic.
Pick a topic that you think your interviewer is really passionate about. It could be a hobby, an upcoming event, or a work project
Step 3. Give a sincere compliment
This is a great way to change the subject and you can use this tip no matter who you are chatting with. Find a detail about jewelry, shoes, or clothing the other person is wearing and say something nice about it.
You can also expand the discussion by asking for additional information about the thing you are complimenting on. For example, you can ask her what her secret is to getting such a beautiful tan
Step 4. Try with a sudden approach
If there is a moment of silence in the conversation, change the topic completely, instead of going back, or try moving to another topic more gradually.
Try to start a conversation with a question. Here are a few examples: "What's the strangest job you've had to do?" "," If you could have dinner with three people, who would you choose? "
Step 5. Consider the type of relationship
When deciding on a new topic to use in a conversation, think about the type of relationship you have with the other person. Are you trying to change the subject in a conversation with a coworker, new acquaintance, or your mother-in-law? The more intimate the relationship you have with that person, the more likely you are to choose any subject.
- Stick to the conversation when you're with strangers. Since you don't know the person, you don't know what kind of sensitive topics to avoid. The weather is almost always a safe topic to talk about.
- If you're looking to get to know someone better, exchange information with each other. For example, ask them why they are attending the conference where you just met.
- With friends and colleagues, you can exchange opinions. If you want to change the subject, give your opinion on a related subject. For example, if your friend complains about the food served at a restaurant you have chosen and you want to change the subject, say something like this: "Don't you find this music strange? "
- You can discuss your feelings with close friends and family members. This is a particularly intimate subject, but very relevant, if you are trying to change the subject with your partner or sister. Find out how the person in question feels after discussing something with them.
Part 2 of 3: Use an outside distraction
Step 1. Focus on the current situation
Talk about where you are, such as decoration, scenery, city, events, etc.
- Make your interlocutor think. Ask him, "How many people do you think there are in this place right now? "
- Make an unusual point of where you are. Here's an example: “Did you notice that huge dog over there? "
Step 2. Broaden your audience
Another method of changing the subject is to bring a new person into the conversation. You can introduce your partner to someone you know or ask them to introduce you to other people.
If neither of you know other people during an event, offer to join a lively group together
Step 3. Carefully withdraw from the conversation
You can tell the person in question that you will be back soon, if you want to continue chatting with them. A break of a few minutes will be a more natural reason to change the subject.
Use a frivolous pretext. Take a trip to the bathroom or the buffet, or get some fresh air
Step 4. Simulate a phone call
You can ask a friend to call you at a specific time in a potential emergency. There are also apps that can do this automatically.
- This can be a particularly useful technique for a first meeting.
- You can always choose to continue the conversation, but an interruption will give you an opportunity to change the subject.
Part 3 of 3: subtly steer the conversation
Step 1. Make small changes
Instead of suddenly changing the topic of a conversation, you can take it step by step and expand on the topic you are discussing.
Use a word association to jump from one topic to another. For example, if you've been chatting about skiing or snowboarding for too long, keep talking about the weather in northern regions. This discussion might lead you to talk about the weather in the tropics
Step 2. Use the “yes, but” method
You can move from one topic to another by agreeing with the other person and then using the conjunction "but" to jump to a new topic.
- For example, if you don't want to hear about cars anymore, you can say this, “I like fast cars, but I actually prefer fast races. "
- Here are some other transitional words or phrases: "It reminds me of …", "By the way …", etc.
Step 3. Ask questions
Let your partner change the subject himself. Listen carefully to what he is saying and ask questions that can turn the conversation in another direction.
Ask open-ended questions, that is, questions to which the answer can only be "yes" or "no". To get a more detailed answer, start your questions with interrogative pronouns like who, what, when, where, how, why
Step 4. Go back to a previous topic in a conversation
Perhaps the discussion turned to another topic. You can always come back to an old topic with a line like this: "I was very interested in what we were saying before: can you tell me more."
- Avoid finding the main topic of a conversation yourself too quickly.
- It is best not to give advice to the other person unless they ask you to.