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Mastering the Art of Good Conversation

Mastering the Art of Good Conversation

A good communicator doesn't always possess the qualities of a great orator. The ability to talk is minimal next to the ability to listen without bias or judgment. Few people know what it takes to get ideas across and actually be heard during the course of conversation. There are skills that are necessary if you hope to become an excellent conversationalist whether at a party or in a business.

To be a good conversationalist, you need three things:

  • The ability to talk
  • The ability to listen
  • The ability to use the mind while listening

The first of the three is easy to do. Listening becomes harder and very few people have ever cultivated the ability to use their minds on what is being said.

Whether it's the classroom environment or party conversation, there are three reasons why anyone engages in conversation:

  • To learn something new and useful
  • To establish new friendships or reinforce old ones
  • To gather information

It's no surprise that salesmen, business people and negotiators have honed their skills in conducting conversation. Their career depends on the ability to converse, convince and sell. Their techniques are not exclusive to their fields alone, but can be used in everyday life. If you know how to carry on a good conversation, you will have a better job and develop more friendships.

There are some rules that you can follow to develop your conversation skills:

  • Be attentive to both the speaker and what he is saying. Unfortunately, our minds tend to wander to daily problems or what's being offered at the pot luck table. The inability to actively listen to the conversation at hand is the sign of an undisciplined mind. Chances are if your mind wanders in a conversation, your life isn't well organized either.
  • Listen without passing judgment. It's easy to find fault in what is being said. Listening requires an open mind that absorbs the facts before any conclusions are drawn. The failure to listen this way leads to misunderstanding and rouses resentment.
  • Don't interrupt. Of course you want to get your two cents in. The urge to correct a misconception is a part of human nature. But it is best to let the other fellow finish talking before pointing out any disagreements that should be given lightly.
  • Ask questions. It shows the speaker that you are paying attention to his words. Everyone enjoys talking about themselves and appreciate the person who wants to know more about their knowledge. A good listener encourages others to talk more than do the talking.
  • It's rude to abruptly turn away from the speaker while he or she is in the middle of a subject. An attractive passer-by, loud music, or children running and screaming can be distractions to any conversation.
  • Turn off the TV, stereo and pause from your engrossing book. If someone wants to make a point it does little good to establish a good rapport if you must focus half your concentration on the football game. When it comes to your children, the other party needs to understand your need to cut the conversation short when necessary to care, protect or discipline them.
  • A good listener doesn't hog the conversation. No one likes listening to someone who loves to talk about himself. We don't like the chatterbox who has the latest gossip to dish out about their friends and family. If you find yourself talking too much, stop and let the other person get something off his mind.

Listening is a skill that can be learned. All that is required is the willingness to pay attention and subdue your natural inclination to interrupt. Learning the right techniques can make you the life of the party and someone who others will be eager to talk to. Lasting friendships often developed through good listening skills.

Comments (3)

What was I saying?
Didn't know that there was going to be a test, did ya?
--Yes, listening is very important! I certainly agree.
Sometimes, Waiting and giving them time to complete their thoughts, hopefully
not rambling on too much and focusing on their words, ideas, and intent of the thoughts of the conversation. Can at times make you forget your valid point or maybe even a helpful suggestion.
But to address the artical I would say it's very valid advise. - thanks for that.thumbs up
Thank you for this thought provoking thread which everyone knows about but no-one speaks about. You have identified three thinks that most people do fairly well in one or two of the three areas. Some people are good listeners only - I assume that their minds are working, while others are chatterboxes (mind not working? but beware of conartists who can do both.)

What is annoying for me is forgetting what I wanted to say after listening to someone yap for too long. Any advice? or should I just continue listening...confused
An excellent article, with extremely good advice.

Also, the first one I've read that uses correct spelling, grammar and pronounciation throughout ;)


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