#217 - Some do's and don'ts of good communication

Some do’s and don’ts of good communication
This week, I want to share some ideas and best practices on good communication when you meet someone new. If you’re one of the rare people that really doesn’t care about making a decent impression on others or you think that being offensive is amusing, this blog isn’t for you.

Or…maybe it is!

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of listening to many, many conversations between men and women. While most of them are normal, everyday conversations, some of them were extremely awkward.

Some people have a much easier time communicating than others. For those of you that struggle, I’d like to share some tips and techniques to help you become a better conversationalist.

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When you meet someone, be appropriate.
One of the best ways to make an impression on someone is to get them to talk about themselves. Most of us love to talk about the things that are of interest to us…our job, our hobbies, our vacations, etc.

Avoid talking about controversial topics. Odds are that you’re going to be on the opposite side of the discussion and you’ll alienate many of those in the conversation.

Don’t tell off-color or offensive jokes or stories! In today’s world, it doesn’t take much to offend a lot people. Why would you want to purposely put yourself in that position when your intent is to try to make a good impression?

Don’t assume that everyone has the same interests or sense of humor that you do. Often times it’s best to just listen as you enter a conversation with a group of people. Learn what the conversation is about. Then, if you have something valuable to add, offer it up.

You don’t need to share everything you know.
Just because you know something, that doesn’t mean you need to share it. There are some things that are better left unsaid especially if its of a personal nature. As the saying goes, don’t “Kiss and Tell!”

When you kiss and tell, you show a lack of filter and, by association, you show that you’re not worthy of being trusted.

Don’t be an interrogator!
There is very little enjoyable about being interrogated as you’re trying to get to know someone. What’s an interrogator? It’s someone that asks question after question after question.

It’s more common to have this type of questioning when you’re on a date than in a group conversation. In either setting though, you will turn people off.

Most conversations are better in person than by text or phone.
When you’re getting to know someone, save the more personal and deeper conversations for a time when you’re together, face-to-face.

Human beings were designed to connect with each other on many different levels. UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian found that 58 percent of communication is through body language including facial expression, 35 percent through vocal tone, pitch, and emphasis, and a mere 7 percent through content of the message.

It’s so easy to get sucked into using text and email as a primary form of communication. It’s generally less intrusive and we feel safer because we don’t have to deal with anyone directly.

Human interaction is an art that is quickly being lost not only on the younger generations, but on Baby Boomers as well.

If you’re uncomfortable talking to a stranger, practice an opening line.
For those of you that are very uncomfortable with talking to someone for the first time, practice what you might say. The more you practice, the easier it will be to respond or to start a conversation.

Start the conversation with something about where you are. If you’re at a dance, you might say something like; “This is a great venue. Do you dance here often?” Or; “You seem to know your way around the dance floor. Can you teach me a couple of steps?”

After introducing yourself, other ice breakers might include; “I’ve never been here before. Do you come here often?” Or, “Were you born and raised here?” Regardless of what their answer is to this question you can then ask; “What was it like growing up there?”

When you ask questions, ask as many open-ended questions as you can. Open-ended questions require more than a yes or no answer. They require some thought be put into the answer.

Don’t be afraid to talk because you’re shy.
When you’re shy, just like I used to be, it can be really hard to talk to someone especially if it’s someone you’re attracted to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tripped over my tongue and stumbled through an answer the first time I’ve talked to someone I wanted to meet.

It’s like my mind is racing…I don’t want to look or sound foolish. It’s like there’s a huge mental block that prevents me from saying anything intelligent!

In an average conversation I can be witty, charming, and actually sound like I know what I’m talking about. And then there’s those awful conversations where I sound like a dork!

The important point is to step out of your comfort zone and at least try. You won’t always be eloquent. You won’t always sound polished. Just keep trying. Start a conversation with a complete stranger just for the fun of it and see where it goes.

In the end, we all make mistakes!
We all say the wrong things from time to time. It’s just going to happen. The key is to help your self by paying attention and not making more than your fair share of bad comments. When you say something wrong, make a mental note of that and don’t say it again.

Be conversational. Keep stepping out of your comfort zone. Keep learning from your mistakes. Before you know it you’ll have a collection of amusing, if not downright funny stories to tell.

I hope today’s topic is helpful. Join me next week for Stop Fighting For Broken Relationships.

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Thanks for joining me today! Have a great and blessed day!