Is the art of conversation becoming a lost art in our day and age? Are we teaching our youth the importance of speaking face to face with their friends and family, not just substituting texting or emailing? Let’s look at this somewhat antiquated skill of conversation that can be so useful in falling in love, building others self esteem and making friends. So, you are at gathering and know no one. How do you proceed? Most of us immediately want to become wallflowers or return to our home in silence overlooking the opportunity and challenge of interacting with others.
It helps to have a few stock questions in mind and with a little courage, extend yourself with a smile to the nearest person. Openers I like to use are: So, Where are from originally? or Where did you work before retiring? That always opens up further questions leading to an interactive conversation. Being genuinely interested in knowing the other person and asking general not personal questions can get your relationship off to a good start.
Don’t ask yes or no questions, because that might be the only response you get but use open-ended questions like…How did you feel about moving here? or How was it to be born and raised in a small community? Be sensitive to the other person’s body language and emotional message as you are trying to converse. Consider including others in the conversation who might be nearby. Ask about their interests or hobbies.
Notice people’s body language as you approach them, it will tell you lots. For husbands the same techniques can be useful. Notice your spouse’s body language that can say volumes more than her words if she's being quiet. A good opening question could be…How are you feeling about ________? (fill in the blank) life today, the family, your job, whatever concerns you feel she is dealing with. Or just a general question asked sincerely, I sense you’re feeling down today. Would you like to talk about it? Remember to just listen and don’t give advice or solutions unless asked for them.
There are two parts to any message given in person: the words and the emotion behind the words. The same words I love you can carry a different message if sent with true regard vs. anger or indifference. Conversation skills are so important as a communication tool in all your relationships. NEXT TIME: Hand Written Notes