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Making Conversations

The year is marching on and I wonder who is keeping to their New Year resolutions? They are so easily made and so easily broken. But last year I stuck to mine and I felt I made headway so I'm sharing my success with you.

The NYR was to be friendly at social outings. Now that's a biggie for a person who is a bit low on self esteem. How intimidating to enter a room of strangers! Everyone else seems more interesting, stylier, slimmer, classier, educated...But the point to remember is that most people want to be friendly. Ok, so there is the occasional snob or super-shy soul, but in fact most people can be encouraged to talk, you just have to push the right buttons. I have found that now I enjoy the challenge of making conversation with people I don't know well and drawing people out of their shyness as well.

Here are my hints:

When introduced to a person it is REALLY important to remember their name and to use it again somewhere in the conversation. Try to associate the name with something....his name is Bill so imagine him in his office paying the bills, her name is Meg, think of Meg Ryan who also has a cute smile...

Listen intently and use body language to show you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Use eye contact or a nod. Smile. Give an encouraging comment here and there as a way of verbal feedback.

Remember that people like....and find it easy.....to talk about themselves. Be interested in what they say and use it to expand the conversation. Listen intently and you will find cues to keep the conversation going and bridge to new topics.

Look for common ground and work from what is known.

Ask open ended questions - ones that begin with what, how, where, when and who. But don't make a person feel they are being interrogated!

Don't dwell on yourself! You will come across as boring and self centred. However a conversation involves two-way communication so you must be prepared to share some of yourself.

People find it hard to resist a compliment. "What lovely shoes!" is sure to elicit a response.

Keep up with current events and use them to make conversation. Focus on good news.

Remember the weather! We can talk about the weather for hours if we have to!

Politics and religion are not subjects for casual conversations. Keep well clear of them!

This year's resolution is to learn to swim. I'm taking lessons. Just you watch out, I'm on a roll!

By yellow 17-Apr-2006
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