Interpersonal communication is a skill worth developing. You can be a social gorilla behind a computer screen or document your every mood change 140 characters at a time, but face to face is still how business gets closed, and networking personal capital is produced and cultivated. Conversationally Speaking by Alan Garner should sit on the nightstand next to How to Make Friends and Influence People. It is the guidebook on how to promote quality conversation and increase personal effectiveness. Here are some big rocks from the book.
· Learn how to ask open ended questions that promote conversation and better yet, give you control to guide the conversation and take advantage of “free information” that comes from the answer.
· Delivering “honest positives” in the form of compliments of someone’s behavior, appearance or possessions has a wonderful affect on a conversation. Find out how to take these and use them to deal with negative situations without feeling awkward.
· Learn to listen and take a genuine interest in the person you are speaking with. Nothing endears like genuine interest. My story is the most interesting to me, and yours is to you. I shouldn’t miss yours trying to interject mine. Great conversationalists are genuine interested listeners. Faked interest is a huge turn off and stinks like road kill. Genuine interest requires humility.
· Some situations have a level of anxiety that can be calmed simply by eliminating labels and self defeating thoughts. Read the section on catastrophizing. (my spell checker says it’s not a word but you will recognize it when you read the chapter)
Awkwardness is advancing to epidemic levels since our relationships have moved to cyberspace. Don’t lose hope though; humans will interact face to face again one day. When that day comes, you can be ready by reading Conversationally Speaking by Alan Garner.