“An awkward silence” is an uncomfortable pause in a conversation or presentation. The unpleasant nature of such silences is associated with feelings of anxiety as the participants feel pressure to speak but are unsure what to say next… Source: Wikipedia

Check out: 7 Ways to Eliminate Awkwardness From Conversations With New People



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  • start off on the wrong foot – to begin things incorrectly
  • slip-up – a minor or careless mistake
  • flatter – lavish praise and compliments on (someone), often insincerely and with the aim of furthering one’s own interests
  • nod – lower and raise one’s head slightly and briefly, especially in greeting, assent, or understanding, or to give someone a signal
  • momentum – the impetus and driving force gained by the development of a process or course of events
  • quirk – a peculiar aspect of a person’s character or behaviour
  • abundance – a very large quantity of something


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • Why should compliments be honest and specific?
  • What is the Ben Franklin effect?
  • How can you make sure that you’re listening actively?
  • What does the author say about silence in the middle of conversations?
  • Why is it not such a good idea to get prepared for conversations?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the correct forms of the words in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Conversations are the ________ FOUND of any relationship, whether it’s the beginning of a friendship, a romance, a professional ________ PARTNER, or a consumer-brand ________ CONNECT. Starting things on the wrong foot, with awkward slip-ups or painful ________ SILENT, can compromise your chances at building something ________ MEAN. To the social anxious or ________ EXPERIENCE person, attending a professional networking event or going on a first date are two versions of the same hell–just waiting for the moment when the smooth conversation gets awkward, and everybody wants to leave.


Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

Compliments work ____ a number of reasons. They serve to flatter the person you’re talking to, setting the conversation ____ a positive course. They open up the conversation ____ something specific–for example, if you compliment a person’s shoes, you can talk about where he/she got them. And they add ____ degree of warmth and familiarity to the interaction. Just be sure that your compliments are ____ honest and specific–general comments, like “you look good” aren’t necessarily bad, but they don’t provide any specific direction ____ the conversation. Insincere compliments, too, can be easily detected, and may set the conversation ____ in a negative direction. As a side note, it’s also a good idea to learn ____ accept compliments gracefully.


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