Easy ways to improve your conversation…suggested by Odile Faludi

April 27, 2014 by Odile Faludi
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In February we discussed the power of quality conversation.  No, I don’t mean texting, emailing or Facebooking. I actually mean picking up the phone and starting a conversation with someone who you would like to get to know better. If you missed that article here it is.

Odile Faludi

Odile Faludi

So if you want to ignite a new relationship and are becoming more confident to start conversations with someone new, how can you make yourself the attractor in the conversation? What do I mean by the word ‘attractor’?  Have you ever noticed that some people in a very short time have the capacity to really engage us and to even draw us very close to them?  It is almost like a pulling sensation. They understand the power of communication and communicate well. They put their signals out when they speak – very useful when trying to attract the opposite sex. They are interesting, confident and have boundless energy and are fun to be around.

The biggest attractor by far is simply being ‘happy.’ This is very appealing, let’s face it who wants to hang around someone who is whinging all the time. When someone enjoys life and shares their enthusiasm they often have a keen following. Like the saying, “When you smile the whole world smiles with you.” This applies in face-to-face conversations and over the phone. You can definitely sense if someone is in an upbeat mood and if they are content. Happiness is always sweeter when shared.

Rabbi Gourarie sums it up well, “Happiness breaks boundaries. When people are truly happy they loosen up and do things that are beyond the norm. The boundaries that are broken with real joy are the barriers and fences that separate us from each other. The happiness allows us to develop a different perspective on ourselves and other people. We stop judging others by their external behaviour and things they say and do, and we begin to appreciate their inner soul.”

Humour is a great icebreaker in conversation but there are some rules that apply especially when you don’t know someone very well.  It goes without saying that you should never make a joke at the expense of another person, it shows poor character. Never discuss politics or religion until you know which side of the fence they sit on. Bad humour can be a real deal breaker from the onset so tread lightly when trying to be funny. Best to get to know the person much better before becoming the larrikin to avoid upset.

Desire is fuelled by want and in the early stages of a relationship it’s the unfamiliarity which fuels the want. People are born curious and will want to know more about you. It’s those initial conversations over the phone or face-to-face which can either build a relationship or make it fade. Most people are drawn to people who have the ‘attractor traits.’ It’s amazing how far these traits can assist in developing relationships.

But what happens when you are having a grumpy day?  Try not to initiate conversations with someone you want to impress on those days. Just simply avoid it. No point burning a bridge and regretting it later. Until someone really understands and likes you always present the best version of yourself. First impressions are so important. Be a lifter… not a leaner. Follow and share your dreams. Your excitement will be contagious.

If you want to progress the conversation and build the connection the best way to do that is to simply ask a question. Ask because you really care. Open-ended questions typically begin with words such as “Why” and “How”, or phrases such as “Tell me about…” this calls for a response.

Odile’s tips for encouraging the free flow of conversation are taken from the New York Times best-selling book called “Crucial Conversations, tools for talking when stakes are high.” You can’t get higher stakes than developing a good relationship.

They are:

Ask – Start by simply expressing interest in the other person’s views. Start with an attitude of curiosity and patience.

Mirror – Increase safety by respectfully acknowledging the emotions people appear to be feeling.

Paraphrase – As others begin to share part of their story, restate what you’ve heard to show that you are listening and that you do understand.   Being receptive also provides a signal that it’s safe for them to share what they are thinking.

As you begin to share your views remember the ABC points. They are:

a)     Agree: how often do you agree with someone else’s point of view and say nothing.  It is time to let the other person know you agree and empower them with that knowledge. It is all about making the other person feel great and encouraged in your presence and by doing this you are saying, “Hey, I agree with you and we are on the ‘same page’.” This ignites positive feelings.

b)    Build: If the other person leaves something out, agree where you share views, then build by adding another point of view; and

c)     Compare: When you do differ significantly, don’t suggest the person is wrong; simply compare both points of view.

The most important thing about conversation is to really listen and care. We actually persuade others with our ears not our tongues. Hence, why we have two ears and one mouth!

If at any time you feel you may have said something inappropriate it is important to sincerely apologise. This will stabilise the situation and allow communication to continue. Mutual respect is the key. The tone and friendliness of your voice will make the other person feel comfortable and safe. You know when you have mastered having a good long conversation it will always feel way too short. As Martin Luther King Jnr said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Let Odile know what you think about this article here


About Odile Faludi

Odile Faludi is a passionate freelance writer and a business development consultant. She is trained in “Crucial Conversations” through VitalSmarts. They have helped 300 of the Fortune 500 realise significant results using a proven method for driving rapid, sustainable, and measurable change in behaviours.

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