Yesterday the tables were reversed and – instead of me collecting someone else’s story – this time It was my turn to be interviewed for the newspaper.
We had a long talk and it was a good experience. The reporter, Adam, did a great job. I was very impressed with him, I told his editor in an email later in the day, Good questions, very intelligent, thoughtful.
It remains to be seen, of course, how Adam writes up the story; but we covered a lot of good ground, talked about a variety of important things, and made a genuine connection.
It was a day of good conversation all around. I met a friend for a long breakfasttête-à-tête at eight o’clock, chatted with Adam at Panera Bread around eleven, and enjoyed a relaxed lunch with Rebekah when I returned home.
Great conversation requires concentration (Rebekah and my great-neice, Haley)
CONCENTRATION!Good conversation is a gift. Unfortunately, it’s a skill that seems to be in short supply. But the good news is that anyone who really wants to can be a good conversationalist. Fact is, with the “Holiday Season” coming up, all we have to do is follow a few simple pointers to be the conversational life of any gathering:
Always turn off the television during dinner or while hosting guests…ALWAYS!
Focus more energy on what other people have to say than you do rehearsing what you want to say next;
Show genuine interest in other people and you’ll be the most popular person in the room;
Learn from my daughter who, when she was four and unhappy with my commitment to our interaction, grabbed me by both shoulders and said, “Daddy, listen to me with your eyes!”
Ask thoughtful follow-up questions;
Always have a couple of good “conversation-starter” questions in your (figurative) hip-pocket, ready for any lull in the conversation;
Refrain from “solving” other people’s issues, “dismissing” their opinions, “topping” their story, or making “that’s the way it is, so there’s no need for further discussion” statements that close the door on continued dialog;
Be humble even when you are knowledgeable;
Present yourself as someone who is willing to learn from other people….
Interestingly, even though I’m writing about talking, you may have noticed that the focus is not on preparing brilliant, scintillating, make-everyone-notice-me contributions to the discussion! No, these pointers are more concerned with how we respond when other people are talking.
That’s because – as a rule – we tend to appear more erudite, more intelligent, and more interesting… when we’re not talking than when we are!