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Posts tagged ‘small talk’

How to Start Conversations

When you come from a place of genuine interest and warmth, almost anything you say will be well received and appreciated. What you actually say doesn’t have to be clever, how knowledgable you are, or how much you can “save” them will actually create alienation and a loss of connection. People appreciate others showing genuine interest, and everyone appreciates and treasures those moments when we drop our “presentations” and become authentic.

Conversation and small talk isn’t easy and natural for everyone, but it’s a skill that can be learned. The more you practice, obviously, the easier and more spontaneous it will become. A tip to start “training” yourself to be better at it, is to put yourself in a non threatening comfortable situation. This will mean different things for each of you as some of you might be a very comfortable parent chatting on the sidelines to other parents, while others may be very comfortable walking up to someone to help them in the grocery store. You can easily start by making small talk with the clerks where you shop and the waiters/waitresses when you are out for a meal or even your morning coffee. Oddly enough, this tip may be VERY helpful…..Practice with telephone solicitors! Why? Because it will challenge you to keep the conversation going with asking leading questions and the caller will stay on the line for obvious reasons!

Initiating a conversation with a stranger might not be easy, but we can’t let fear or our anxieties run our lives and keep us from growing. You only grow when you put yourself in challenge uncomfortable positions, and learn some lessons along the way. Additionally, you never know what kind of day the other person may be having, and just your friendly banter may brighten their day or even make them smile. Others may even be flattered! In general, we all love to be noticed and appreciated for our efforts.

So what do you say? It really doesn’t matter as long as you say something. Start be getting comfortable with opening the door for communication with a simple SMILE and a warm “Hi,” “Hello,” “How are you?” or “Good morning,” and see what happens! If you know the person’s name or something about them say, “Hi, Nancy. How are you doing?” or “Hey, how is potty training that new dog of yours?” the next step is VERY important, Listen and respond appropriately. Some people need that nudge to keep the fire of communicating going. You may need to drive the conversation a bit. Always pay attention to body language though. If someone is darting their eyes, pulling away from you, seems rushed, let the conversation close. You may find some of your conversations may be a bit out from left field while others open a whole new world of things in common and the conversation can go on and on. Additionally, some conversations you wish you never started and others might be the high point of your day. It’s all a lesson, and sometimes a risk we have to take on opening the lines of communication.

What you really want to get into the habit of doing is asking open-ended questions as opposed to yes/no questions. If the person can respond with either a yes or a no, that’s not a good question you should ask. Again people always like to be complimented or feel of value. Starting with a compliment or asking for their opinion even on something you may be an expert about, will open up for a back and forth dialogue. It gives other people the permission and opportunity to talk. You may need to memorize some cliche open-ended questions that can be used as ice breakers in different social settings. At a party you might ask how they know the people who are throwing the party. Or at the grocery store, you may ask for some help on picking out the best beef for your stew. You can even ask for directions or recommendations to some great local restaurants or shopping areas. (even if you know them all!)

One of the best tips to finding out someone’s name is to introduce yourself first or introduce someone else in your party so they can offer up their name to them. People always value the sound of their name, especially when someone else remembers it. So at the close of the conversation, if you have completely forgotten their name, don’t be ashamed in asking for it again. If it’s a name that warrants spelling, ask them how they spell it.

The only way you will get better at socializing and communicating is to get out there and do it! Follow me on Facebook for more free advice, tips, motivation and training! http://tinyurl.com/christinedwyer

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How to Get your Point Across In Business Conversations

IT’S NEVER ABOUT WHAT YOU SAY, IT’S ALWAYS HOW YOU COMMUNICATE IT.

Conversations occur constantly in every area of your day-to-day life. Sometimes we don’t even notice how many interactions or conversations we had by the days end, but they are happening. What may start out as workplace small talk could potentially become a huge step and growth in your career or even a new opportunity.
When promoting your services or business, a higher level of professionalism may be expected. So being authentic and genuine should be your number one skill but also having a balance of being forthright and directive.

While we can’ t have every possible interaction or conversation you may have or encounter, here are some key points as you look to polish your interpersonal and communication skills and, at the same time, become more authentic in your delivery.

1) Get more information before making a statement. Don’t jump in too fast with your “I know for a facts” and Statements to prove their point is incorrect. Careful not to jump to conclusions. Pause, and ask another question to either get more information for a full understanding of their position or to have them expand so you can gain more understanding.

2) Keep everyone focused on the point, goal and intention. Create common ground on which to share your perspective. This will help people maintain understanding, stay on point with the topic, and to not hit any “hot buttons” that may turn the conversation into a spiraling combustion!

3) Be sure to inquire more than advocate for your position or view!Many times conversations can steer into the wrong direction, or completely in a way you didn’t have planned. Many of the times this can happen if you take a strong stance advocating your position rather than taking the time to ask questions and to see their position or their needs. Stay humble. You may be right, but right in your own mind. There’s always two sides of the coin.

4) Lay it on the Line. Be REAL and authentic! Telling people that you are new, you don’t know all the details yet, you are a work in progress, etc..only shows your authenticity. Honesty shows you are humble, and the conversation will allow people to connect more with you when you come across “human”.

5) Develop a reputation of being a good listener. Be careful to not jump in with the “me too’s” or “you gotta hear when this happened to me”. People are interested in one major person when speaking, and it’s always themselves. To develop better relationships with your clients or soon to be clients, bite your tongue. No need to jump in and fill every pause. Really listen to what they say and respond with a question which will develop and stem off of their previous statements.

6) Be a problem solver. You don’t always need to get a result, sale, or a paid service in your conversations. Listening to your customers needs, and being a problem helper or solver will create a strong bond and relationship. Your solution may not even be one that you can provide for them. Just be that person who is genuine and will recommend or help even if it doesn’t directly benefit you.

7) Develop your Small Talk. “Nice weather we’re having” can get old real fast. Start to develop your initial small talk more than the obvious. You can use your surroundings, kids, something in common, or a compliment. Everyone likes to feel valued. Even if you know everything in the area, maybe ask for their opinion, or suggestions, or advice on the situation. I.e.: Have you eaten at this restaurant before? What is the number one item I should not miss?

Developing your conversational skills is just that, a skill. To some people, it comes a lot easier. Even chatty Kathy’s aren’t always successful at this, just because they are outgoing and chatty. Having a point, directing the conversation with leading questions, and having a genuine interest in helping them in their needs will help you develop stronger relationships and a new following.

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