How often do you find yourself in a conversation where you feel the other person is just talking at you, rather than with you? The art of a good conversation should be very much like playing a game of backyard catch. After you share a comment, you’re tossing the “ball” of conversation to the other person, meaning it’s his or her turn to say something. If you continue holding on to the ball, however – by giving a long-winded play-by-play description of your day, your recent vacation or your child’s latest accomplishment – then you’re gripping the ball of conversation too long and not allowing your friend or business acquaintance a chance to “play.” Do this too many times, and you’ll be dismissed as a pompous, full-of-yourself individual.
Pay attention to how long you’re holding on to the ball, and toss the ball back in his or her direction, which signals it’s that person’s turn to talk. In time, they’ll toss the ball right back to you. That’s what the art of good conversation is about.
Here are a few key takeaways to having productive conversations with friends, family and colleagues:
- Think of a good conversation like a game of catch
- Make sure you are passing the conversation back to the other person
- Refrain from being long-winded or holding the ball of conversation too long
As an added bonus to this week’s weekly tips, download my “Get Out There & Introduce Yourself” worksheet here.