Knowing how to start … a conversation..
My two kids don’t like walking with me to school or from school.
It’s not that they don’t like walking, it’s that they don’t like me talking to so many people. What should usually take 10 minutes They cannot believe how many people I know.
I tell them that I don’t know everyone but people simply like coming up to me and talking. Sometimes, telling me their whole life story in under 5 minutes. That is just something I have had to deal with since I was 5 or 6 years old.
Knowing how to start and also how to end a conversation are skills necessary to having good conversations.
A simple smile goes a long way
I smile a lot, always have.
I’m a Smile-kind-of-person.
I smile, even when the person receiving it does not necessarily deserve or ask for it. It can be nerve-wrecking for some people who are not used to receiving smiles.
Many people that speak to me remember my smile. This helps them remember ‘me’. I tell my kids –
“It The QUALITY of your Network is more important than your Quantity. Here’s why –is not that I know every person … it’s that each of those persons, KNOW ME’
Sometimes, it is just from the smile I gave them many weeks … months … years ago.
A simple smile goes a long way …
Your Ability to Start a Conversation is fuelled by good networking.
The fact is that, you won’t get very far in this world if you cannot make eye contact, act confidently and engage in an intelligent conversation punctuated with give-and-take, back-and-forth chat.
Think about it: conversation is a KEY element in almost all relationships we have. If you cannot maintain a conversation – and be a great listener – you will have very few people who would want to work with you.
Where does that leave you?
Empty-handed with no business as very few people would like to network with you. Not being able to hold down a conversation will most likely leave a negative impression in their minds the next time you run in to them.
Small Talk is key to having a strong foundation in relationships.
The ability to participate in small talk is not easy for many people. For those that allow themselves to be ‘comfortable being uncomfortable’, small talk speaks well for you. It leads to exchanges that deepen a relationship.
Your ability to small talk can have a significant impact on your success in life.
According a study at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the most successful students were not the ones with the highest grade-point averages.
No, the most successful were the students happened to be the ones most comfortable with having friendly conversations with others, particularly strangers.
ACTIVE Listening is about ATTENTION to the INTENTION.
To some people, talking may not come as easy as others.
But that should not be the ‘excuse’ you should use to justify you not trying to make ‘small talk’. The other side of the equation, obviously, is being a GOOD LISTENER.
Active listening requires you to WORK.
Yes, Active listening is hard work as you need to stay engaged to the talker. Active listening is about Attention to the Intention of giving utmost respect to the speaker … giving him/her your full, undivided attention.
Being an Active listener is well worth the effort. Believe me, it is.
When you’re a good listener, I believe you improve your ability to win friends and influence others. In my 7 years of owning and managing my Family Gym, many years ago, I spent most of my working days ACTIVELY LISTENING. Listening to members of all ages and from all backgrounds, races and status. I listened to their stories, their fears, their jubilation, their hopes, their secrets … you name it, these ears have heard it.
I even became very good at listening to what they did not say.
It was a big part of how I helped people, help themselves find solutions. It was a big part of allow me to build a strong extended family and increase my influence over all the stakeholders of my gym.
Listening ACTIVELY with ATTENTION to INTENTION allowed me to having appropriate Coaching Conversations with my members of my Gym Family. It is also a big part of the successes I have had in my Coaching Conversations with everyone I have helped over the last 30 + years.
Perfection in Listening is not the goal, the DISCIPLINE is.
I believe, learning and applying the discipline to be disciplined in listening to someone when they speak, derives from Love.
Yes, that’s right, love.
The energy for the effort .. the work to be self-disciplined in Active Listening is a form of will. Self-discipline is not only usually love, translated in to action. A person behaves with self-discipline (in this case, ACTIVE Listening) towards the person speaking.
In other words, any genuinely loving, respectful relationships is a disciplined relationship, within the boundaries set for that relationship. If I truly respect another, I will obviously order my behaviour in such as way as to contribute the utmost to his or her growth.
Here’s something I have concluded –
“The Art of beingWeird is the New “Normal’ a good Conversationalist is like the Art of Self-discipline.”
Genuine Active Listening is like Genuine Love.
It is precious, and those who are capable of genuine love and genuine listening understand that their loving … their active listening must be focused with ATTENTION to INTENTION, through self-discipline.
Your ‘attention’ is not sufficient. You must have the intention to listen and above-all, you must be focused. This is hard work.
To Genuinely Listen is to genuinely Love.
I have found that to genuinely listen is to genuinely love.
This is because to genuinely love, you are extending yourself, your being. When you are extending yourself , you are growing.
I believe, the more I love better .. the more I listen better … the longer I love … the longer I listen … the larger I become.
Like genuine love, genuine listening is self-replenishing.
The more I nurture the spiritual growth of others through my active listening, the more my own spiritual growth is nurtured.
As the singer John Denver sings –
“Love is everywhere, I see it.
You are all that you can be, go on and be it.
Life is perfect, I believe it.
Come and play the game with me.”
So, my readers, that is why I say the Art of having good conversations is like the Art of Love.
Have you mastered the Art of Love, yet? Or are you still learning … like me?
Keep talking … keep listening … keep loving.
Yours in Muscles & Mind,
Hello… can you hear me? Are you there?