Ramesh was late when he reached home from his office. There was a farewell party in the evening to honor one of his co-workers who was to retire within a few days. His elder son, studying in the 4 th Std, came rushing to him and asked anxiously; “Dad, where is the note book I asked you to bring ……?”
“Oh. Sorry dear. I forgot to buy it”, he replied. “I will surely bring it tomorrow”
The child was pacified with his reasonable reply. But his wife came to the scene and uttered; “Your father is always like that. He doesn’t have time to spend for us. He is interested in going to parties and get- togethers”.
Remesh naturally got irritated and said; “You are always spitting poison, it’s your dirty habit”.
“Yes.., yes, you are a saint. Do you have any interest in family and children? You don’t have time for us… you are interested only…”
The child suddenly interrupted her impatiently and said; “Can’t you stop this, Mother? Anyway, I don’t need the note book today. Dad will bring it tomorrow”.
“Oh’ you are taking sides with your father. Now I am out… you will pay for it”. She angrily went to the kitchen.
The child come near to his father and caught his hands to express his sympathy and solidarity. Ramesh hugged his son, kissed on his forehead and said; “Don’t worry, it’s ok”
These types of incidents and conversations are too common in families today. Here, the wife’s hot words irritated and angered her husband. They began to fight each other, but the child’s timely interference helped to end the quarrel.
Art of Conversation
Conversation is an art and it is an important factor in determining the quality and strength of your relations with others. Some are in the habit of irritating others with their conversation. But a few can make others happy and friendly with their way of talking and conversation style. They can energize, enthuse and motivate others with their words. Your conversations can make or break your relations. The ability of an individual to make others happy and confident with his wise conversation is termed as ‘Conversational intelligence’, by the famous American author and business executive, Judith E. Glaser. She says that conversations have the power to work wonders and transform our lives. Conversational Intelligence (CI-Q) is the most powerful human skill of connecting with others through conversations. The quality of our relationships depends on the quality of our conversations.
One of my friends once conferred on me that whenever he starts a conversation with his wife; that inevitably ends in a quarrel or conflict. Even though he attempts to please her, she will always try to find fault with him and criticize him in an irritating way. This is her habit and hence every conversation with her ends in anger and curses. This really reminded me of the wise words of William Shakespeare; ‘More of your conversation would infect my brain.’
Persons with high conversational intelligence can make others happy and confident with their conversations. They can nurture and nourish their relations with others and foster bondage with them by their pleasing words. Good conversational skill is essential for building and maintaining warm and cherishing relationships. If you want to succeed in your professional or personal life, you have to be a good conversationalist.
It is always better to understand the status, mental conditions, cultural background etc of the other person before beginning the conversation. Also, you have to assess whether he is busy, tired or disinterested. The strategy and style of your conversation can be adopted accordingly.
Strategies to become an excellent conversationalist
Here are some powerful strategies you can adopt for becoming an excellent conversationalist.
1. Be genuinely interested in the person
Your genuine interest in the person you are talking to will be automatically reflected in your behavior and body language. If you are merely pretending to be interested, that will be well understood by the responding person. So please do engage in conversation with genuine interest and love, and then only you can touch the hearts of others and establish an emotional connection.
2. Never begin a conversation with de-motivating or negative comments.
There are many people who begin the conversation with negative comments or remarks. For example, they start the conversation with comments like; “you look too tired, today”, “You have become too fatty” etc. Such negative remarks will not make others happy any way: So, abstain from the tendency to begin the conversation with negative remarks. Always begin your talk with a positive note or encouragement.
3. Don’t monopolize the conversation
Remember that conversation is a two way process, not a one way traffic. Many are in the habit of monopolizing the conversation, knowingly or unknowingly.This will irritate and repel others from them. Don’t be a prisoner of your own ‘know-all attitude’. Always adopt a give and take policy, allow others to talk enough.
4. Don’t try to shower your knowledge on others
Many are making conversation an opportunity for force jet their knowledge and ideas on others. Nobody will normally tolerate this. People will shun such boring persons. So, be ready to show interest to receive knowledge from others, instead of showering your knowledge on them
5. Be a good listener
Listening has become a neglected and rare art nowadays. Nobody has time to listen to others or to his inner voice, even though a lot of time is wasted in social media or mobile phones. Listening is the most important factor which determines the quality of conversation. If you are a genuine listener, you will be liked and loved by others. Your
relationships will be nourished and nurtured by this art. You can become a good conversationalist through the habit of genuine listening. As the renowned American play write, Wilson Mizner pointed out; ‘A good listener is not only popular everywhere but, after a while, he gets to know something’.
6. Be a bit humorous
Remember that everybody loves and enjoys humor. You can very well improve your conversational IQ by the deliberate use of humor. Humor leads to laughter and laughter can bring healing and happiness. You can easily make your conversation a happy and memorable experience with the spice of laughter, merriment and humor. As the famous British poet, George Herbert reminds us; ‘In conversations humor is worth more than wit and easiness, more than knowledge’.
7. Use your smile power
St. Mother Theresa once advised; ‘Let us always meet each other with a smile for, the smile is the beginning of love’. Scientists have proven that smiling can lift your mood and the mood of others around you. So during conversations use your smile power to make yourself and others simultaneously happy. Smile is your best ornament and decor. As the famous American writer, poet and political activist, Max Eastman pointed out; ‘Smile is a universal welcome’.
8. Maintain enough eye contact
Lack of eye contact will be regarded as your disinterest in conversations. Always remember the saying; ‘Eyes are the windows to the soul;’ So, to have a heart to heart conversation eye contact is essential. According to the popular writer and poet, Christina Stringers, ‘Eye contact beats any conversation’.
9. Don’t interrupt
Interrupting other person’s conversation is normally irritating to him. That shows your lack of interest to listen to his words and ideas. John Locke, the famous English philosopher and physician once said; ‘There cannot be greater rudeness than to interrupt another in the current of his discourse’; This is regarded as one of the greatest mistakes, committed in conversations and a sure way to turn yourself into a boring person.
10. Don’t criticize or argue unnecessarily
Nobody likes criticism, since he feels devalued after that. Plautus, the renowned Roman play write once said; ‘I much prefer a compliment, even if insincere to sincere criticism’. He was reminding us of the ordinary human psychology. So be very careful not to spoil the beauty and comfort of your conversation with unwanted criticism and arguments.
11. Ask questions to show your interest
When somebody is talking to you, it is a good strategy to ask appropriate questions occasionally to clear your doubts and to show your interest. That will encourage him to continue the conversation with you with greater enthusiasm and interest.
12. Don’t fidget
Fidgeting is an indication of restlessness and anxiety. That can be perceived as a sign of boredom or disinterest. You can control the tendency for fidgeting by making sure that your hands are relaxed by your side while standing, and resting casually on thighs while sitting.
Yawning is also a very unwelcome sign of disinterest.
13. Remember and use other person’s name
One’s name is the sweetest sound in this world to him. So you can make your conversation sweeter to him by using his names frequently but naturally. Dale Carnegie pointed out the importance of remembering names by his famous words; “remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance’.
14. Make others feel important
According to Dale Carnegie, the deepest urge in human nature is the desire to be important. So, in your conversation you can deliberately but naturally, make others feel important and loved. You can follow the advice of the former British Prime Minister and writer Benjamin Disraeli; ‘Talk to a man about himself, and he will listen for hours’. So focus your conversation on himself or on the topics he is interested in.
If you want to master the art of conversation and improve your
conversational IQ, the strategies discussed so far are of great help to
you. Always remember the wise advice of the famous English writer,
Dorothy Nevill; ‘The real art of conversation is not only to say the right
thing at the right place, but, leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. JOHN MUZHUTHETTU is a Human Resource Consultant, National Trainer, and Counselor. Formerly he was the Deputy Chief Engineer, Kerala State Electricity Board and is still working as an external faculty of HRD Programmes of KSEB. He is also a faculty of Department of Management Studies, Mar Augusthinose College, Ramapuram, under M.G.University, Kerala. He is the PG course co-ordinator of MHRM.
He is a columnist in several Magazines, like ‘Business Deepika’, ‘Creative Business’, ‘Donbosco’ etc. His articles have been published in many magazines and journals. His several speeches have been aired by All India Radio. His interviews on various subjects have been telecasted by Power Vision TV. He is the author of five best-selling books:
‘Stress-Manassasthra- Aathmeeya Pariharangel’. (Current Books, Thrissur) 4th Edition
Vijayiyude Vyakthithwam (Current Books, Thrissur)
Jeevitham Santhushtamakan, Nithya Yauvanam Nedan.(CSS, Thiruvalla)2ndEdition
Emotional Intelligence-Jeevithavijayathinu (CSS, Thiruvalla)
Vijayarahsyangal (Current Books, Thrissur)
As a trainer, he has conducted more than a thousand seminars and workshops for teachers, parents, students, executives and others, on several subjects like Stress Management, Time Management, Personality Development, Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual intelligence for Excellence, Communicative Skills, Assertiveness, Motivation, Study Skills, Effective Parenting, Counselling Skills etc. He is an external training faculty of Power Engineers Training and Research Centre of KSEB. He is an external faculty of IMG Cochin. He is also the Secretary of Upasana Cultural Centre, Thodupuzha.
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