Building Great Conversations

Building a Great Conversation

Have you been around people who somehow seem to take over the conversation? They can’t seem to catch a breath between sentences; or worse, always interrupt the other person? If you have been in such a scenario, I can bet you that after a few tries of trying to pass your point across without much success, you will opt to maintain silence rather than speak back. What happens then is the conversation ceases to become 2-way and instead becomes a monologue.

I remember this one college roommate of mine who loved to talk so much that I always seemed to end up sleeping mid conversation. While other students credited quick passage of time to the great conversations held in their rooms after class; I credited having a good night’s rest to the conversations taking place in our room.

Great conversationalists know that the number one rule of communication that always wins other people’s hearts and minds is: talking about the other person and their interests. Showing genuine interest in what the other person values ignites a spark that keeps the conversation going deeper and for longer.

Such is the case in the story told of a couple that had the intention of upgrading their vehicle. As they planned the trip to the car yard, they had put in place a detailed game plan of how they would approach the sales conversation. But the salesperson knew better than to rush to the sale, and instead started the couple off on a conversation based off a personal anecdote he had observed about the man as they approached the car-yard office. The conversation with the said salesperson extended to the man’s personal and community interests that he let his guard down, so much so that 1 hour later, and with very little questions about the car, a cheque of the full value of the car had been written in favor of the car company.

A great conversation has the power to bring down barriers in any relationship. Most of us believe that the secret to having a great conversation is talking; But the question is, what are you talking about?

The secret to winning is in showing interest in the other person.

One of the biggest mistakes we can make while trying to have a great conversation with those around us is assuming that I or ME is a very HOT topic. While this may work well the first few times you interact with the other party, continued engagements will become less enjoyable and more of a drag.

So, what does it take for one to be considered a great conversationalist?
Engaging in other people’s interests is easier said than done. This is an exercise that takes more listening and less talking. Infact, did you know that social scientists have found that people who talk for more than 30 to 40 seconds are perceived as boring or overly talkative. Imagine that, only 30-40 seconds!

This concept also translates well in the world of Personal Branding.
Building your Personal Brand requires more than just blasting your accumulated knowledge to the world (talking); rather, it requires a greater amount of understanding who your audience is and their interests (listening) and in turn using your expertise to speak to those interests. Aligning their interests to your expertise is very important in building a loyal following with your audience.

To build a great and intimate relationship with your audience you need to:

Thoroughly research your target audience:
Understanding your audience requires a full immersion to their world. Determine, their needs, interests, likes and even how they like to be engaged. The more you understand your audience, the more you will know about them and the more compassion you will build in developing solutions affecting them.

Determine if your personality and character align to that of your audience:
You need to connect with people who have a similar personality and character as you do as this tends to create a better bond with the audience. The more you and your audience uncover similarities about each other, the more you will become attractive to each other.

Immerse yourself in their interests and do their will:
Once you figure what your audience seeks to achieve, go a step further and fill in any open gaps by serving them whole heartedly. By doing so, your audience will feel indebted to you / your services and this will in turn build loyalty enough to get your audience to genuinely speak value about you or your services.

So, the next time you find yourself trapped on the talkative side of the room, remember to pass the mic over to the other person to balance the conversation. And if in doubt, focus on the other person as much as possible. This will make you seem more interesting and polite.
Remember, for you to learn about the other person and their world, you must be willing to open yourself up to receive what they have to share about their world, interests and experiences without judgement.

Serenade your audience with highlights from their own world and #standout4growth.

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