Avoid These Words In Conversation

By Min Liu | Verbal Skills

If you want to become a better conversationalist, you need to avoid certain words in conversation unless you want to become known as a “conversation killer”. Learn what those words are in this article and never use them again! More importantly, you will also learn five conversation techniques you can use instead of these conversation murdering words.

How Conversation Is Like Football

It’s September and football season just started (American football, for those of you who live outside North America) and I’m sure many of you reading this are quite excited about that.

Now, the one thing that’s not exciting about football is when referees keep throwing frequent flags for phantom violations.

The game is flowing and moving at a nice pace, but every time a referee throws a flag, the flow of the game comes to a complete stop while the referees figure out what happened.

After a few more times of this nonsense, you feel like changing the channel.

The game becomes unwatchable and you just want to throw something at the referees on the screen.

When you use certain words in conversation, you are just like an overzealous football referee throwing a flag and disturbing the flow of the conversation. Not just disturbing it, but completely murdering the vibe and flow of the conversation.

Trust me, when you use these words in conversation, your conversation partners will want to tune you out like a football game that’s been dominated by too much referee screen time.

When you do this, you will become known as a “conversation killer”, and trust me, that’s a reputation you don’t want to have.

“Dead End Words”

The words that I’m talking about are what I call “dead end words“.

You may not realize it, but most people (including myself) are guilty of using way too many dead end words in conversation.

Dead end words completely make whatever conversation you’re having hit a wall. As soon as the dead end word is muttered, the conversation loses all momentum.

Okay, so here is the list of the most frequently used dead end words:

1. “Cool.”

2. “Nice.”

3. “I see.”

4. “Interesting.”

5. “That’s funny.”

6. “That’s cool.”

7. “Wow.”

8. “Oh.”

9. “Okay.”

10. “Mmm.”

These words do nothing to advance a conversation.

Instead, the conversation dies not a slow, torturous death, but an immediate, bullet-in-the-brain gory death.

Dead end words are not even words that are used because you have an honest feeling to convey, but merely because you don’t know what to say next or because you’ve gotten accustomed to using them out of reflex.

These words give your conversation partner nothing to respond to and place the burden of making further conversation on them, which ultimately makes you an inconsiderate conversation partner.

Even when you don’t mean to be inconsiderate, you are at a minimum being an ineffectual, limp conversation partner.

So, starting today I want you to start eliminating this habit of using dead end words.

An Example of Dead End Words

Here’s an example of how dead end words destroy the vibe and flow of a conversation:

You: “What did you do last weekend?

Your Friend: “I went to Los Angeles last weekend.

You: “Oh cool.

Your Friend (feeling a bit frustrated): “I was there to attend a wedding.

You: “Wow.”

(Now, your friend is really frustrated. What do you think happens next?)

Your Friend: “Okay buddy, I gotta go. Talk to you later.

Do you see how when you use these dead end words, the conversation completely dies?

Every single person in a conversation bears the responsibility for not letting the conversation die, but in this case, you failed in your responsibility.

What To Do Instead: Five Ways To Keep A Conversation Going

Now, you’re probably asking: “Well, what should I do/say instead of dead end words?

Well, I’m going to tell you right now. Pay attention!

Instead of allowing a conversation to come to a dead stop with a dead end word or dead end phrase, you need to have techniques to keep it going, so here are five ideas for you for how to keep a conversation going (using the Los Angeles example you just saw above):

Technique #1: Relate

You can just relate to what the other person is saying:

Your Friend: “I went to Los Angeles last weekend.

You: “Oh, I went to L.A. last month too and had a fantastic time!

Technique #2: Connect The Dots

You can “connect the dots”, which means connecting what the other person said to something else that is related to what they said:

Your Friend: “I went to Los Angeles last weekend.

You: “You did? Talking about L.A., the Dodgers are doing terrible!”

Technique #3: Make A Statement

You can make a statement, in this case, you would just make a statement about Los Angeles.

Your Friend: “I went to Los Angeles last weekend.

You: “You did? L.A. is just awesome, especially the weather. I’m totally jealous.”

Technique #4: Go Macro

“Going macro” means taking the subject of the conversation and getting broader with it. Here’s an example:

Your Friend: “I went to Los Angeles last weekend.

You: “You did? Vacation time is just the best time of the year. I can’t wait to go on vacation myself.”

Technique #5: Go Micro

“Going micro” is the opposite of “going macro”. Instead of getting broader with the subject, you “drill down” into the subject itself. Here’s an example:

Your Friend: “I went to Los Angeles last weekend.

You: “You did? Where in L.A. did you stay? Beverly Hills, Hollywood, or some awesome beach city?”

If you want to learn about “going macro” and “going micro”, check out my video here.

So, there you go! There are five time-tested, effective ways to keep ANY conversation going.

Simple right?!

Keeping A Conversation Going Isn’t Necessarily The Goal of Conversation

Now, having said that, merely keeping a conversation going isn’t the goal of conversation.

You will read lots of conversation advice or conversation tips out there which will teach you “how to keep a conversation going forever.”

I hate this type of conversation advice.

Your goal in a conversation should never be to merely “tread water”, i.e. keep it alive.

It’s like the idea of “playing not to lose” versus “playing to win”.

You need to go somewhere with the conversation, preferably somewhere good right? In life, I believe that one should always PLAY TO WIN.

So, let me give you a contrarian view on this instead:

Your goal shouldn’t be just to keep a conversation floating. That’s a stupid goal. Instead, a great conversation has to accelerate, get more interesting, or get more fun or exciting.

All of the five techniques I just gave you above on how to keep a conversation going don’t actually accomplish these other much more important goals of a conversation.

Now, if you want to learn some much better ways to ACCELERATE a conversation, then get a free copy of The Conversation Manifestoby clicking the picture below.

Inside, you will learn the #1 way to have an exciting, thrilling conversation and not just a conversation where you are “treading water”.

To close this very important conversation article, raise your right hand and repeat after me:

I promise to never, ever use use a “dead end word” in conversation ever again!


About the Author

Min Liu is a corporate lawyer, Amazon #1 bestselling author, the founder of The Art of Verbal War, where people learn to EXCEL in verbal skills, and in the words of his readers, he's the "big brother you never had".

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