Monday, June 19, 2017

Are you a talker or conversationalist?

Do you have people in your life that talk... all the time?  They talk so much, you have to interrupt them to leave the conversation (and I sometimes wonder if they kept talking even after I left!)

Recently I read the book by Scott Adams, How to Fail at almost Everything and still win big!  I loved it!

In the book, Scott who writes the comic Dilbert
gives real feedback on living a successful life (He continues to put caveats in the book to remind us we are getting life advise from a cartoonist!)

One of my favorite parts of the book is about being a good conversationalist.  These are his top 7:

  1. Ask Questions
  2. Don't complain (too much)
  3. Don't talk about boring experiences (TV show, dreams, meals, etc.)
  4. Don't dominate the conversation.  Let others talk.
  5. Don't get stuck on a topic.  Keep moving.
  6. Planning is useful but it isn't conversation.
  7. Keep the sad stories short, especially medical stories.
The one that kills me is #4.  We all have a family member that we love that doesn't feel like they are communicating unless they are talking.  

How do you help someone like this to change?  

My favorite is #1.  I ask a lot of questions.  In fact, I get in trouble with my wife as they questions I ask can be probing.  Many people love to answer them.  But I am sure that I have gone one to far more than once.  

I ask these questions because I am always fascinated by people and their stories.  Most people haven't walked on the moon or starred in a blockbuster movie.  But that doesn't mean that they don't have interesting parts to their lives.  Yesterday I was speaking to a man who had an older brother... and 7 older sisters!  And everyone has something about their life that is really cool!  Most of us don't even know what that is!  So it takes a lot of questions to get there.

Dale Carnegie has the perfect helper to asking questions.  

Think of a tree.  Ask questions about their home, their upbringing, their family, and their traditions.

In that tree is a hammer.  Ask them questions about their career, their schooling, and their aspirations.

On that hammer is a watch.  Ask questions about their hobbies and other ways they spend time.

Then listen!  With each question comes a bunch more!  If you listen well, you care about what they are saying and so you hear things that are interesting to learn more.

If you do this, you will NOT be the person people avoid because you talk too much!

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