Has the art of conversation found it’s way into history like the love letter, a handwritten greeting card and/or thank-you note? How many hours are we spending behind a screen instead of being face to face or even having a long distance call or other pleasantries over the telephone? Have we given up on social etiquette?
*This is a print that I’ve had in my kitchen forever, titled “Romance in a French Cafe.”
All these questions came to mind as I was reading a book about seduction…the French way. To the French, seduction isn’t necessarily a sexual act; it is more about charm. As I got along more into the book I started to think about the “games” we played as adolescents and young adults (or older) to charm someone we were interested in. It’s an art form…if performed brilliantly. I can’t say I ever mastered this skill as I have been shy most of my life…an introverted extrovert or is it an extroverted introvert…not sure!
Gifted conversationalists have an advantage in every aspect of daily life. Don’t we all want to be around people who can enlighten us, entertain us, comfort us, boost our confidence…? Although some are a natural at good conversation, it’s possible for the rest of us to acquire these skills too.
I did some research and found the following tips:
Most of us like to talk about ourselves. This, however, isn’t the best approach to good conversation. It’s important to really listen to what others are saying…to not be distracted by anything else that may be going on in the nearby surroundings. Make the person before you the focus of your attention. Listening carefully provides the opportunity to pick up cues about what your companion may be interested in. You can then guide the conversation along in a direction in which you too can contribute. It’s important to find the right balance between listening and speaking. My sister has often compared me with the “Larry King” interview style where I am interrogating more than conversing!!! Sisters…
Everyone has something special about them. Complimenting someone is a good way to start, possibly giving them confidence and putting them at ease. Don’t be disingenuous, though that defeats the whole purpose. It could be as simple as saying, “You’ve picked a lovely place for us to meet.”
Who likes to feel like they are back at school listening to a boring lecture on something they’ll never be interested in (or remember)? In a social situation, this is a no-no. At a party or out with a group for dinner don’t dominate one person’s time or attention. If you are awkward socially this is an easy habit of falling into. You find someone you are comfortable talking to and you don’t move along. It’s important to mingle and be part of the group. Avoid heavy personal or controversial topics.
You know how great you’ve felt when you’ve been on the receiving end of someone’s undivided attention. Try to make whoever you are talking to feel that way too…as if they are the most important person in the room. Let them know that you really enjoyed the time you’ve spent together.
Every important relationship in your life starts with a conversation…whether it’s intimate and/or personal or professional and/or business related. Obviously, not every encounter is going to earth-shattering. That’s OK. It’s those rare moments when the magic happens. It could be an intimate conversation between partners, or the sharing of good friends. Often times my favourite conversations are with my grandsons. They haven’t been jaded by the woes of the world and the negativity that lurks all around us. They are learning how to share and listen. This is my pure joy!
Although I am on my own most mornings (sitting in front of a screen!!! or reading), I do enjoy going out for coffee. I like to be a part of a room full of people conversing. Around 9 in the morning the cafe starts to fill up with friends catching up or business colleagues (I’m surprised how much business is conducted over morning coffee). There is comfortable banter, laughter and on occasion intense emotional sharing. It’s confirmation that we are still social beings wanting to spend time with those who are important in our lives.
***Our furry friends are always willing to lend an ear when we may want to hone up on our conversational skills!