What are the qualities of a “GOOD conversationalist?”
Most people are studying a language to be “conversational” and eventually become fluent.
When I will look for a language partner or someone to talk to whether it is English or our native language, I would love that person to be a good conversationalist. Now, a lot of people confuse a good conversationalist to be someone who does all the talking and I have met people who talk incessantly. Communication, especially an effective one is about an exchange of ideas and opinions so it is important to know when to talk and know when to listen. It is also extremely important to ask questions. If you can ask intelligent questions then it's even better.
There are people who are great with grammar and vocabulary but when you talk to them, there isn’t really anything to squeeze out or learn. Meaning, your conversation will only about things that you can find in a textbook or something that you can easily Google. That is why, it is extremely important to have a "life". When I say life, what do you do outside of work? It is important to have a common interest or hobbies. Imagine talking to a person who loves basketball and then you know nothing about sports. If you love history and traveling, choose a language partner or teacher who loves the same things or at least you have some similarities. In my case, if I will be looking for a language partner, I would check his/her profile and look at the hobbies sections. If he placed sports travel then it is easier to create questions and conversations if you have a common ground.
In addition, having a good conversation with someone is also about the “energy” that one gives. You will feel it immediately when you hit it off with that person. Communication is not just an exchange of words but also of energies. It is important to focus on that person and show genuine and authentic interest and not just talk about yourself. Otherwise, you will end up talking to yourself. In my job and outside of work, I have met excellent people who are actually in conversation with themselves because the conversation revolves around them. Asking questions like, What about you? What do you think? These are necessary to make the exchange effective.
We all have our own criteria about who is a good conversationalist. It depends on what we are looking for. If you are specifically looking for someone who is well-rounded then put that in your profile. You can indicate the things that you love and that you are looking for a conversation partner with specific qualities. At the end of the day, it’s going to be trial and error but you will eventually find what you are looking for.
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