Who is the most effective conversationalist you know? What makes them stand-out in the crowd?
Public figures like Cicero, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan live on today because of their verbal prowess. They knew how to move nations with their ideas.
In communicating your ideas in a conversation, have you given thought to the structure you use to get your ideas to stick?
Can you imagine what it would be like to be the most persuasive speaker in your network? Odds are if you are that person, you’ve put some work into your conversational skills.
If you want to become a skilled conversationalist, here are some practical tips, whether you want to advance your career or simply connect with others more effectively.
Adapting Your Style
If you want to get through to people, it helps to meet them on their own turf. For your message to be welcome, you need to look like one of their tribe. You need to get their attention – the right kind of attention.
Sometimes in makes sense to stand-out in a crowd. But the most effective communicators often will work hard at blending-in to their environment.
That means if you want to ask a question, make a statement, or verbally compel someone to act the way you want them to, the first thing to do is make yourself blend in. You need to seem familiar, like someone your listener would want to know.
So what’s the easiest way to do that? You can make yourself fit into their world by subtly matching the way they dwell in it – literally mirroring their moves, matching their vocal pitch and volume, adapting yourself to their style of speech. When you reflect what they’re comfortable with, they’re more likely to be comfortable with you.
Have you ever noticed that when someone bounds into the room and they’re just a little too happy, you feel annoyed? Or have you ever been jarred out of reading a great book by someone talking a bit too loud, interrupting the world’s greatest battle or love scene?
These people are getting your attention, all right, but in all the wrong ways. You might think of them as inconsiderate, maybe even rude. Whatever they have to say is lost on you.
Tailor your tone and style to blend with your listener’s, and you’re sure to stack the deck in your favor.
Matching Your Speech
Countless studies have shown that people interpret the world around them according to their dominant senses. Some people call it your primary learning style. What you’ll discover in becoming an effective conversationalist is that people will reflect their primary learning style in their speech.
The way a person relates to their world is a called their Representational System: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic – sight, sound or sense. If it seems like you and that certain person are speaking a different language, maybe it’s because you really are! Here are 3 tips for understanding how to adapt your style of communication:
- Sight: Is there someone you don’t see eye to eye with, no matter how plain your message may be?
- Sound: Or maybe there’s someone who just never listens to you, even when you think you’re coming in loud and clear.
- Sense: Perhaps there’s a weighty issue you need to mull over with someone, but you feel like they’ve always got a bone to pick with you.
Each of these situations is actually the same kind of problem wearing a different disguise.
If you’re not getting your message through, successful communication may be a simple matter of matching your speech to their Representational System.
If they don’t see your point, help them visualize it a little more clearly. If they don’t hear your message, explain it to them. If they don’t grasp your meaning, help them feel the weight of your ideas and wrap things up for them with a bow.
The Power of Pointed Questions
Finally in getting your ideas across verbally, don’t underestimate the power of asking good questions. The more deeply you understand your audience or your conversation partner, the more relevant your discussions can be. Find out where they’re coming from, and use the dialog’s momentum to communicate what’s on your mind.
You don’t really have to be a genius or even a great orator to get through to people. It just takes a few simple tactics to get them to listen up, see your point, and move into action. Now that you know how, whose life will you change today?