I’ve just been caught. I was browsing facebook aimlessly, when I stumbled upon a TED Talk. As it was the first time, I saw TED on facebook – before, I always visited the site directly – I clicked in. Happened to be a short talk by Cecile Headlee on how to be a good conversationalist.
I am definitely not. Actually, I wonder, that anyone speaks to me at all. Everthing, Mrs. Headlee suggests to be or do in order to be a good conversationalist, I am not or barely ever do.
1. Don’t multitask
2. Don’t pontificate – true listening requires a setting aside of ones’s self (uhhh, to be honest – I am a little bit of a know-all)
3. Use open-ended questions (do I ask at all – don’t think so)
4. Go with the flow – if a new thought comes into your mind, let it go (instead, I hang on for dear life to that one good thought that came to mind while listening, and I try to get it in any way possible asap)
5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know – be accountable for your words (at least I try here, but a good theory is also fine – or maybe not?)
6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs – do not make the conversation about you. All experiences are individual. (Ahhh, caught again – there’s hardly anything, I haven’t happened upon in a similar, opposite or comparable way, I’m afraid)
7. Try not to repeat yourself – it is condescending and really boring (but how else am I supposed to REALLY make that point?)
8. Stay out of the weeds – people care about you and what you are like, not the details (guilty as charged, but I do have an excuse: it’s genetic, I inherited it from my mom, her stories meander in a way, one gets lost rather soon with all those places, things, dates, folks one has no clue about and that have nothing whatsoever to do with her initial topic. Sometimes she herself gets lost and forgets completely, what she actually was talking about)
9. Listen – Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand, we listen with the intent to reply (yep, that’s what I’m always on about: what to say to that, how to react)
10. Be brief – “a good conversation is like a miniskirt; short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject” (the genes, again, see point 8 for my excuse).
So, summing the above up: all I am really good at is NOT multitasking while being in a conversation. Or any other situation. I do one thing at a time, that’s it.
But as one can gather from going through points 2 – 10, that is not saving me from failing at almost every other quality, one needs to be a good conversationalist.
Maybe that’s why I keep a blog in the first place.
Might be a good idea, to work on becoming better at listening to people.