Ron Tustin - How to Talk to Almost Anyone
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"A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Well here is the column for leap year day! But today also has some tradition, apart from for the people who were born on 29 February, the so-called ‘leapers’. In Great Britain it is a tradition that women may propose marriage on this day. In Denmark, the tradition is that women may propose on the bissextile leap year day, February 24, and that refusal must be compensated with 12 pairs of gloves. In Finland, the tradition is that if a man refuses a woman's proposal on leap year day, he should buy her the fabrics for a skirt. In Greece, marriage in a leap year is considered unlucky. One in five engaged couples in Greece will plan to avoid getting married in a leap year.
So as an acknowledgement to those who may find themselves having to start up difficult conversations, today I am talking about how to start a conversation with anyone. This skill is meant to help you build lasting connections with people and feel at ease while doing it regardless of your knowledge of the subject or topic. Asking good questions about other people and what they do or like to do is one of the easiest and simplest ways to engage someone in a meaningful conversation.
When you meet people, notice what they wear, how they sit, their surroundings (especially if they were in control of the décor) and any jewelry, or pictures. Even noticing if someone is sad, lonely, depressed, joyful, or happy is important. Picking up on another's mood could help you determine where or if you should engage them in a conversation.
Ask Quality Questions about their Likes, Dislikes, Hobbies, and Ambitions
This is to find common ground. The right types of questions, even if you know nothing about the subject, will give you valuable insights into the mind and thinking of the person you are talking to. When your questions express your interest and curiosity in another person, you will normally get positive responses to your questions.
Insert Similar Feelings or Emotions of Your Own into the Conversation
It is easy to hold a conversation once you have found common ground. Asking good questions and then adding your own similar thoughts into the conversation related to an area you understand, is one of the easiest ways to get to know someone. But remember not to monopolise the conversation. The ideal state to be in is one of curiosity and then the other person feels listened to and respected.
Be Comfortable with Your Own Ignorance
I used to work with someone who was very successful in engaging with people by starting with, “This may sound like a very naïve question, but.”
Learn to ask for help or advice. Most people like to feel useful. If you are comfortable with your own ignorance and just want a bit of advice, ask, such as "I know nothing about cars, but maybe you can tell me why it does this?" After you get your answer, you can ask, "Wow! Where did you learn all that?" The answer will tell you a lot about that person and help you with relating to him or her in some manner. Please tell what you think or if you would like more information on this topic please contact me here."Anyone who thinks the art of conversation is dead ought to tell a child to go to bed." - Robert C. GallagherRon Tustin
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