Friday, May 9, 2014

Conversational Clues

Like the game of tennis, as your conversational game progresses, you can increase the effectiveness of your game with strategy.  Knowing the style and stroke of the other player can help you modify your approach and style during play.  The key is understanding the conversational clues the other player gives you during play.

When someone asks you about a subject you have been given a great clue. Once you describe, explain or answer their inquiry you can easily ask them the SAME question back. You will be amazed at how the person's question reveals something that they really wanted to talk about and suddenly they control (even dominate) the conversation (taking the pressure off you to talk).

 Here's an example:

Other Player:  " Have you been on vacation this summer?"    
{Notice that the person asking this question isn't trained on open ended questions since this question could be answered with a Yes or No response}

You:  "Yes, I just went to Yellowstone Park"                  
{Oops - a one sentence response - You're not being very helpful in conversational flow}

Other Player : "Wow - I've never been to Yellowstone Park did you like it?"                                                
{Ouch!!! another YES/NO question - he needs to review OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS}
You:   "Yes, I did ....                                                               
{OK - I'll help him out
You again: .... I really like taking vacations that involve nature".
{you take control of the conversation  and even offered up a clue for an new subject -  about nature}
Long........awkward ......silence
{This person wasn't prepared for a new subject and can't respond.  He is struggling. How could you help out ?}

You again trying: "How about you, what things did you do this summer?"
{Wow - you just asked him what he asked you first (the same question) - but you did it correctly with an OPEN ENDED QUESTION"}

 Other Player:  "Well, I went to Europe and had a great time.  We saw .......
{BINGO --- Now the person talks for the next 10 minutes continuously about their vacation to Europe. With just nods and "tell me more" you keep the conversational ball in play!}

This example shows that the volleys were in deep trouble (by both players) as they attempted to find their tennis style and rhythm of the conversation.  It was the clue about the other player wanting to tell you about their vacation that created the successful conversational flow - and your ability to ask the Open Ended Question -  What did you do .........?

Like tennis - keep practicing!  Use conversational clues to improve your game.

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