conversation http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9043/all en-US Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Awkwardness http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-awkwardness <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-awkwardness" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/IlyrepsQNoZgh7EAINYJx_7nX-lMdssgL7aVSx1LWTo/mtime:1417867323/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/awkward-conversation-surprise-469807475-small.jpg" alt="awkward conversation" title="awkward conversation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How do you handle an awkward social situation, like the moment a party guest says something controversial and the whole room goes quiet? Or when you witness Tony making a cruel joke about Sandra's extra weight &mdash; without realizing she's standing right behind him?</p> <p>Well, researchers say it's <a href="http://www.psmag.com/navigation/books-and-culture/the-deep-pain-of-awkward-silences-26246/">that moment of unbearable silence that follows most any social gaffe</a> that activates feelings of awkwardness for not only the blunderer but everyone else who witnesses the faux pax and is faced with enduring such an uncomfortable pause without knowing how to end it. The way to end it, of course, is to prevent it from ever existing.</p> <p>&quot;A mere four-second silence suffices to disrupt the conversational flow, and make one feel distressed, afraid, hurt, and rejected,&quot; a research team led by psychologist Namkje Koudenburg writes in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. By contrast, conversations that are void of such uncomfortable pauses have the opposite effect, fostering goodwill and camaraderie. &quot;Flowing conversations are associated with higher feelings of belonging, control, self-esteem, social validation and perceived consensus,&quot; the researchers write. &quot;People do not always actively search for opinions of others, but they can validate their opinions by deriving a general feeling of consensus from fluent conversations.&quot;</p> <h2>The One Thing Is...</h2> <p>So when your co-worker walks in to lead the Monday morning board meeting, trips over the overhead projector cord, and falls plum on her face &mdash; don't let the room fall silent. Instead, say something. Ask her if she's okay. Make a lighthearted joke about how treacherous technology is. Say whatever you can conjure to prevent that moment of silence from ever occurring. That's the key to maintaining the comfort level of everyone in the room.</p> <h2>Say Whatever's on Your Mind</h2> <p>Social confidence coach Eduard Ezeanu writes on his blog that one of the best ways to keep the conversation flowing is to <a href="http://www.peopleskillsdecoded.com/how-to-avoid-awkward-silences/">stop looking for the perfect conversation filler</a> and simply say whatever comes to mind first. After all, time is of the essence when it comes to awkward silence prevention. So don't overthink it.</p> <p>&quot;There is always something to say in a conversation, a way to continue it,&quot; Ezeanu writes. &quot;The fact that people who can keep talking for hours nonstop exist is living proof of that. Awkward silences appear in conversation many times because we don't give ourselves permission to talk. We are overanalyzing, looking for the perfect thing to say, for the proper line to continue with. When we can't come up with one, we shut up and just sit there. That's what creates most awkward silences.&quot;</p> <p>So if you feel like talking about the the delicious eggs benedict you had for breakfast, do that, Ezeanu advises. You'll discover that conversations flow much more naturally when you let go and allow yourself permission to talk about whatever's on your mind in that moment.</p> <h2>Circle Back to Recover From a Stall</h2> <p>Chris MacLeod, a psychologist who overcame her own social awkwardness stemming from childhood, writes that another good approach to recharging a dwindling conversation is to <a href="http://www.succeedsocially.com/thinkofthingstosay">circle back to a dangling thread from earlier in the discussion</a>. (&quot;So, you mentioned you're into rock climbing; how long have you been doing that?&quot;)</p> <p>&quot;People often worry that it's bad to shift subjects too abruptly, or that their new topic is too boring and cliched, or that by doing all this they've revealed their hand that they couldn't think of something to say earlier,&quot; MacLeod writes. &quot;Most of the time it's totally fine to shift gears if the current tangent has come to an end. It's also all in the delivery. If you change topics in an uncomfortable, stilted way, then it might be awkward. But if you speak in a comfortable manner, like taking things in a new direction is the most natural thing in the world, then it won't seem like anything out of the ordinary.&quot;</p> <h2>Ask About a Sharp Opinion</h2> <p>And for those times when you're faced with a potentially long awkward silence after someone makes a controversial remark or expresses a sharp opinion that's completely opposing to your own, MacLeod says the best response is either an honest or a curious one. You could either acknowledge the person's opinion and politely say you feel differently or you could question them about their views &mdash; not in an antagonistic way, but in a manner that shows you're interested and mature enough to try and understand their views, although you may not share in them.</p> <p><em>How do you avoid (or recover from) those awkward moments? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-awkwardness">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/improve-every-conversation-with-one-simple-tactic">Improve Every Conversation With One Simple Tactic</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you">Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-people-with-good-phone-skills-never-do">9 Things People With Good Phone Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-search-of-silence">In Search of Silence: 4 Ways to Get Peace and Quiet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-always-have-something-interesting-to-say">6 Ways to Always Have Something Interesting to Say</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development awkward moments conversation silence speaking up Sat, 06 Dec 2014 12:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1264104 at http://www.wisebread.com Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/6PFQTITfFTMPiVtx2wZFCNMhPYDB6VqqKCwOdbxKRmk/mtime:1413406926/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business-group-talking-160613541-small.jpg" alt="business people talking" title="business people talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you been in the situation of needing to make conversation with people you did not know well? Weddings, cocktail parties, and business conferences can be anxiety-provoking if you don't know how to make small talk. Although you may dread it, though, small talk can be a great thing. Chatting can make simple exchanges more pleasant; it can also start the beginning of a great conversation or even friendship. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-practically-free-ways-to-make-new-friends?ref=seealso">10 Fun, Practically Free Ways to Make New Friends</a>)</p> <p>It is estimated that between 7% and 13% of humans suffer from <a href="http://www.anxietybc.com/resources/social.php">social anxiety</a>. What is there to talk about? What should you never bring up? What subjects are safe? Well to start, below are 10 things that small-talk masters know never to do.</p> <h2>1. They Don't Assume They Are Alone in Their Anxiety</h2> <p>It may seem like everyone in the room knows each other, but that's unlikely. I guarantee there are other people there who are as anxious as you are about social situations. Take a deep breath, square your shoulders, and smile. Take a moment to survey the situation and see if maybe there is somebody there that you do know. If not, no need for panic. It's just an event, and it will pass.</p> <p>My trick is to anticipate the worst and let the dread &quot;in;'&quot; nearly all the time, I end up enjoying myself.</p> <h2>2. They Never Forget to Introduce Themselves</h2> <p>Even if I do know someone at an event or party, I do not depend on them to introduce me to others. They may have forgotten my name, or how they know me, or whatever. Don't barge in on people in deep conversations, but if you see an opening, simply walk up and say, &quot;Hi! I'm Jane Smith&quot; and extend your hand for a handshake. If there are other people in the group, repeat the process.</p> <p>How to remember names? Repeat the name (&quot;Hi, Tom, it's really nice to meet you.&quot;). You might try a little trick to remember the name, like a song, or a nursery rhyme, that makes a word association for you. Once introductions are made, people will usually ask where you work, or how you know the bride or groom, or birthday person, or where you're from. The ball is then rolling.</p> <h2>3. They Never Forget to Introduce Someone Else</h2> <p>My friend Sylvia, a seasoned networker, makes the best introductions. They usually go something like this: &quot;Everyone, I would like you to meet John Smith. John has this awesome travel website and he is my travel guru! He also makes the world's best homemade bread.&quot; In her introduction, she gives people clues about things to ask John. She has also given him several compliments, which strengthens his self-confidence and make him smile.</p> <h2>4. They Never Have Bad Body Language</h2> <p>People are receptive to good body language. Take note of your posture, first of all. Are you slumping? Stand up straight. What are you doing with your hands? Do not cross your arms &mdash; that is defensive posture. Holding your hands together in front of you, or behind your back, are both &quot;open&quot; gestures. It may help you to have a drink to hold, if you are nervous. Try not to hold it in the hand you shake with, though, or you'll be shaking hands with a cold hand. Make eye contact, but don't stare. Engage. Smile. Listen. The world is full of talkers, but a good listener is hard to find. Nod your head, and ask the occasional question. Don't keep checking your cell phone. If you get a call, excuse yourself politely and take it.</p> <h2>5. They Never Discuss Religion</h2> <p>This was one of my mom's rules, and will serve you well. While it can be a very interesting subject, it is not a &quot;safe&quot; one in that you might easily offend someone you do not know well.</p> <h2>6. They Almost Never Discuss Politics</h2> <p>Another &quot;mom&quot; rule, and a harder one to avoid. But do, because this topic gets heated, quickly. This rule can go out the window if you are at a political fundraiser, because you are likely on the same page the other people, of course. Just tread carefully.</p> <h2>7. They Never Forget How to Use Openers</h2> <p>People who are good at small talk, I have noticed, are really good at asking questions, or &quot;openers.&quot; Use the information you glean from your first question to ask more questions.For instance, &quot;So when you went to Portland, did you go to Jake's Seafood?&quot; Or, &quot;What a beautiful scarf! Where did you buy it?&quot;</p> <p>Hopefully, the person you are conversing with will in turn ask you questions, which will keep the small talk going. Sometimes, the person you are trying to chat up is really reticent. Here is a trick: &quot;So before this event, what did you do, today?&quot; There is almost always some usable material in that response.</p> <h2>8. They Don't Forget to Expand the Circle</h2> <p>So, if a few moments ago, you were the &quot;odd man out,&quot; be aware of people who may be hovering and want to join in, too. Make eye contact, extend your arm for a handshake, and introduce yourself (and the others, if you can remember their names). After introductions, you may need to backtrack (&quot;We were just talking about where the best breweries are in this town&quot;) and give the newbie a chance to get involved. They will be grateful to you for your help.</p> <p>Also, in the world of small talk, It's bad form to stay and talk shop with one person the whole time. If someone is monopolizing you, it is perfectly fine to say something like, &quot;Well, Ben, my wife will shoot me if I don't get over there and visit with her great-aunt for a while. Good to see you.&quot;</p> <h2>9. They Don't Go Into Small Talk Unprepared</h2> <p>Unless you are having pretty dramatic weather, I wouldn't lead with that. For a conference or company event, do some homework and have some relevant topics ready to bring up. Movies, television shows, current events, or hobbies are usually safe and interesting for cocktail parties. Ask for activity or restaurant recommendations, if you are from out of town. Read the local paper, watch the local news. Just gather up a few possible subjects for your arsenal.</p> <h2>10. They Don't Make a Poor Exit</h2> <p>This is easier to do if you are in a little group, when you simply say, &quot;Excuse me, I need to go say hello to my regional VP.&quot; Or, &quot;Hey, I am going to go get a fresh cocktail.&quot; If it is just you and another person, when there is a graceful lull in the conversation, something like, &quot;John, it has been great talking to you and I enjoyed meeting you. I hope we can stay in touch.&quot; Shake hands again, and go. If you are in a business setting, you might give one of your cards.</p> <p><em>So, tell us: How do you handle small talk?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-people-with-good-phone-skills-never-do">9 Things People With Good Phone Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-people-with-good-communication-skills-never-do">12 Things People With Good Communication Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/invest-your-time-in-these-13-things-while-youre-in-your-20s">Invest Your Time in These 13 Things While You&#039;re in Your 20s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/improve-every-conversation-with-one-simple-tactic">Improve Every Conversation With One Simple Tactic</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-rules-of-etiquette-everyone-should-know-and-follow">10 Rules of Etiquette Everyone Should Know (and Follow!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development conversation etiquette networking Wed, 15 Oct 2014 21:00:06 +0000 Marla Walters 1235111 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things People With Good Phone Skills Never Do http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-people-with-good-phone-skills-never-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-people-with-good-phone-skills-never-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/PHO4oUA1olasBhwYNF8JpihwPXrLSB3C5Kv-17J2xYc/mtime:1412938838/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-phone-conversation-466941591-small.jpg" alt="man phone conversation" title="man phone conversation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may be the king or queen of good manners, but what about your phone etiquette? The person you're speaking with may not bring annoying behavior to your attention, so it's important that you know the difference between proper and poor phone skills. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-people-with-good-communication-skills-never-do?ref=seealso">12 Things People With Good Communication Skills Never Do</a>)</p> <p>Here's a list of nine things people with good phone skills never do.</p> <h2>1. They Don't Interrupt</h2> <p>You wouldn't dare interrupt a person when speaking face-to-face, so why would you interrupt a person on the other end of a phone conversation? Conversations with relatives and close acquaintances tend to be more casual, but this isn't license to jump in. It doesn't matter if you're busy, overly excited, or simply want the conversation to move faster, interrupting is rude and appears as if you don't respect or appreciate the other person's viewpoint or feelings.</p> <h2>2. They Don't Immediately Jump Into Conversations</h2> <p>If you're the caller and the other person says, &quot;hello,&quot; don't jump straight into the conversation without identifying yourself. Never assume the person on the other end recognizes your voice. And even if they do, it doesn't take much effort to say a brief greeting and ask about their day.</p> <h2>3. They Don't Blindside With the Speakerphone</h2> <p>Phones have a speaker option for a reason. If you're driving, it's easier to carry a phone conversation when the person's on speaker, and speakerphone comes in handy when your hands are tied up at other times. However, if you're going to use speaker, notify the person on the other end of the call &mdash; especially when others are in earshot of the conversation. If not, the person you're speaking with might say something he doesn't want others to hear.</p> <h2>4. They Don't Multitask While on the Phone</h2> <p>Whether it's a restaurant or a bank, never conduct business while talking on the telephone. This is rude to the person on the line, and to the person trying to provide services. Both need your undivided attention, and when you attempt to speak to two people at the same time, your listeners will have a difficult time following the conversation. They won't know whether a comment is meant for them or the other person.</p> <p>This rule of thumb also applies to phone conversations at home. Sometimes, you might have to pause a phone conversation to speak with your kids or spouse, but don't make this a habit. The person on the other end doesn't want to hear you fussing or conversing with your kids between every other word.</p> <h2>5. They Don't Continue Calls After Meeting Someone</h2> <p>When you're meeting up with someone, you may talk on your phone to occupy time until your friend arrives. However, when they do arrive, it's common courtesy to end the phone conversation. There's nothing more annoying than meeting up with someone for lunch, and then having to sit quietly 10 or 15 minutes as the other person rudely talks on the phone.</p> <h2>6. They Don't Leave Friends Hanging</h2> <p>It isn't only rude to continue a conversation after meeting up with someone; it's also rude to accept a call and engage in a long conversation when you're already with someone. There are times when you may need to take an important phone call. In this case, apologize in advance and step aside to take the call &mdash; but keep it brief and return as soon as possible. Don't step away for several minutes and leave your friend hanging. If you believe a phone conversation will take longer than a couple of minutes, return the call later.</p> <h2>7. They Don't Forget the Phone Volume</h2> <p>Your speakerphone might be off, but if the phone's volume is turned up, people nearby might be able to hear the person on the other end of the phone. On several occasions I've sat besides someone on their cell phone and heard everything the other person said. To keep your private conversations private, turn down the speaker volume before starting your conversation.</p> <h2>8. They Don't Talk at Inappropriate Times</h2> <p>Cell phones let us communicate with people anytime, anyplace, but there are times when using a phone is inappropriate. People with good phone skills never yank out their phones at the movies, church, or any other place that requires silence. If there's an emergency and you have to take a phone call, step into the lobby or outside.</p> <h2>9. They Don't Talk on the Phone While Eating</h2> <p>We all multitask; and sometimes, we have to take care of business during a lunch or dinner break. This is understandable, but the people you speak with on the phone don't want to hear you munching away. Besides, cell phones don't always offer the clearest sound. Between background noise, your mouth too close to the microphone, and poor reception, a mouthful of food can make it hard for others to understand what you're saying.</p> <p><em>What other rules of phone etiquette should people follow? Hang up and please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-people-with-good-phone-skills-never-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you">Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-people-with-good-communication-skills-never-do">12 Things People With Good Communication Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/invest-your-time-in-these-13-things-while-youre-in-your-20s">Invest Your Time in These 13 Things While You&#039;re in Your 20s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/improve-every-conversation-with-one-simple-tactic">Improve Every Conversation With One Simple Tactic</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-rules-of-etiquette-everyone-should-know-and-follow">10 Rules of Etiquette Everyone Should Know (and Follow!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development conversation etiquette phone calls telephone Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1230389 at http://www.wisebread.com Improve Every Conversation With One Simple Tactic http://www.wisebread.com/improve-every-conversation-with-one-simple-tactic <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/improve-every-conversation-with-one-simple-tactic" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/PluRWwxRvWTAbpoFp2CI1uYmPWqogHZJz11hQ-x02gM/mtime:1396342190/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-479704761.jpg" alt="conversation" title="conversation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Conversation is an important part of everyone's life. Whether you make your living conversing with people or have a job better suited to an introvert and only converse with others a few times a week, it's important to make the most of each interaction that you have with another person. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spice-up-the-conversation-by-skipping-what-do-you-do?ref=seealso">How to Spice Up Conversation</a>)</p> <p>Even the conversations that take place outside of work are important. After all, your friends and family need to know that you love them and care about them, even in the middle of a disagreement, and no matter how heated it gets.</p> <p>If you want to improve the quality of all of these conversations, no matter the type or with whom, there's one simple thing that you can do: <a href="http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2013/10/how-to-make-people-like-you/">Simply repeat the last two or three words</a> that your conversation partner says. Do this early and strategically, and you'll find all of your conversations improving.</p> <h2>Why Does It Work?</h2> <p>Empathy is widely recognized as fundamental to treating people well, understanding their needs, and learning how to motivate them. And listening is one of the <a href="http://chadfowler.com/blog/2014/01/19/empathy/">best ways to communicate your empathy</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-a-more-positive-person?ref=seealso">How to Be a More Positive Person</a>)</p> <p>At its most basic, listening is a pretty straightforward concept. You hear the words that someone else says, and you process them for meaning.</p> <p>However, good listeners do a lot more than that. They also listen to <a href="http://leaderchat.org/2013/08/08/what-does-it-mean-to-really-listen/">what is behind the words</a>. This means that, when they are hearing another person's words, and especially when they are processing them for meaning, they also take into account the other person's tone of voice, body language, and what they know to be true about the person's current circumstances &mdash; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.</p> <p>Taking all of this into account adds to the meaning of the words a person has spoken. It contextualizes it, and can even change it, depending on the situation.</p> <p>In addition to actually listening, it's important to <em>show</em> that you are listening. That way, the other person knows that you are processing all of the information they are giving you, and therefore, that you care about them and the conversation. There are <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130405161502-36052017-7-steps-to-prove-that-you-are-listening?_mSplash=1">many ways to do this</a>, but repeating the last few words that they say is one great (and unusual) method for showing that you are listening.</p> <p>It might even make you listen better, because in order to repeat those words, you have to actually hear them.</p> <h2>How Does It Work?</h2> <p>Sometimes, people feel silly trying to repeat what others have said. It feels...well, repetitive. How could something so simple ever possibly produce good results? It encourages the other person to continue. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today?ref=seealso">25 Ways to Communicate Better</a>)</p> <p>So if your friend says, &quot;I feel really stressed,&quot; you can respond, &quot;Really stressed?&quot; This invites your friend to explain why they are stressed, or to continue on with telling you any other things that they might be feeling.</p> <p>You do have to be a bit careful when and how you use this technique. After all, if you repeat the last two or three words every single time someone stops talking, it will get obvious &mdash; and annoying &mdash; pretty quickly.</p> <h2>When Does It Work?</h2> <p>This technique works in any conversation because it shows your conversation partners that you are listening and helps build a rapport with them. In fact, <a href="http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2013/06/hostage-negotiation/">hostage negotiators incorporate this technique</a> into their repertoire for that very reason. They want the hostage taker to feel like the negotiator is on his side, or at least understanding where he is coming from. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-negotiate-with-confidence-and-strike-the-best-deal?ref=seealso">Negotiate With Confidence</a>)</p> <p>Obviously, this sort of rapport is not necessary in very practical conversations. If your friend says, &quot;I'm going for coffee,&quot; you don't need to say, &quot;For coffee?&quot; Instead, use the technique when you're trying to take a conversation deeper, when you're trying to prolong a conversation but you don't know what else to say, or when you particularly need someone to trust you &mdash; like when you want them to confide in your or confess to something.</p> <p>This technique has been shown to help in other types of stressful conversations, like negotiations, especially when you <a href="http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2011/08/what-are-the-first-words-you-should-say-in-a/">use parroting <em>early</em> in your interaction</a>. If you want a positive, peaceful result, letting the other party know early on that you are on their side makes them more amenable to giving you the things that you want.</p> <p>If you feel skeptical, try this for a day or so and let us know how it goes. That's what I did, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much faster I was able to get to the heart of the matter in a couple of difficult situations, and how much more open a difficult person was to having a conversation at all.</p> <p><em>Have you tried this conversation technique? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/improve-every-conversation-with-one-simple-tactic">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you">Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-people-with-good-phone-skills-never-do">9 Things People With Good Phone Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-always-have-something-interesting-to-say">6 Ways to Always Have Something Interesting to Say</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-awkwardness">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Awkwardness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-become-a-better-negotiator">5 Ways to Become a Better Negotiator</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development conversation empathy persuasion Tue, 01 Apr 2014 08:48:24 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1133537 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Always Have Something Interesting to Say http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-always-have-something-interesting-to-say <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-always-have-something-interesting-to-say" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/4JmRhkY3ZGvUEKYt07sPRrQCO9q_QkVlWi_VVfk6Ue8/mtime:1389008688/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-166158364.jpg" alt="friends talking" title="friends talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No matter the situation, having something interesting to say is an asset. It attains that elusive quality of making yourself appear much smarter and more interesting than you actually are. No matter what your IQ is, having a little extra conversational boost is going to make you appear infinitely more fascinating and impressive to those around you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spice-up-the-conversation-by-skipping-what-do-you-do?ref=seealso">How to Spice Up Conversation</a>)</p> <p>Want to always have something interesting to say? It&#39;s a lot easier than you might think.</p> <h2>1. Potluck: The Bite-Sized News App</h2> <p>Reading newspapers? Who wants all the printer&#39;s ink on their fingers? Reading full articles online? Ain&#39;t nobody got time for that. Fortunately, <a href="https://www.potluck.it/">Potluck</a> boils down the day&#39;s events into bite-sized little chunks that allow you to initiate conversation as well as keep up with your friends. It&#39;s the perfect app for the professional on the go who wants to be able to have something of value to contribute to a conversation, but just doesn&#39;t have the time to follow the news. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier?ref=seealso">10 Self-Improvement Apps</a>)</p> <h2>2. Now I Know: Trivia to Your Inbox</h2> <p>How about just getting a list of cool facts and the story surrounding them sent to your inbox on a daily basis? That&#39;s just what <a href="http://nowiknow.com/">Now I Know</a> does. Whether it&#39;s the story of how the Secret Service was created by Abraham Lincoln on the day he was shot or the real facts on how carrots were once purple, Now I Know is going to give you a small army of brain candy factoids to deploy for just about any occasion.</p> <h2>3. Mental Floss: Listicles That Matter</h2> <p><a href="http://mentalfloss.com/">Mental Floss</a> is the gold standard when it comes to brain candy journalism. Their online incarnation is head and shoulders above the rest of the listicle-style websites populating the Internet today. Read a couple of articles every day &mdash; or just skim them even &mdash; and you&#39;re not only going to be amused, you&#39;re going to be filled to the brim with delectable tidbits of pop science and pop culture information to wow friends and colleagues alike. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-make-yourself-smarter-today?ref=seealso">25 Ways to Make Yourself Smarter</a>)</p> <h2>4. Turn Twitter Into a Fascination Feed</h2> <p>Here&#39;s an interesting way to use Twitter. Instead of following friends and boring news outlets, follow trendsetters, thought leaders, and other sources of bite-sized knowledge. Whether you&#39;re into WW2 history or the latest developments in mobile content marketing, there&#39;s a Twitter feed for you. Time&#39;s list of the <a href="http://techland.time.com/2012/03/21/the-140-best-twitter-feeds-of-2012/">140 best Twitter feeds</a> is a great place to start. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business?ref=seealso">Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a>)</p> <h2>5. Bathroom Books</h2> <p>Are you someone who likes to read in the bathroom? There&#39;s a whole industry of bathroom books designed with bite-sized articles filled with interesting information. &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592236057/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1592236057&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Uncle John&#39;s Bathroom Reader</a>&quot; series is the original and the king of them all. It&#39;s great to have lying around&hellip; just hide it when company comes over lest someone else find out where you&#39;re getting your interesting conversational tidbits from.</p> <h2>6. Reddit: The Thinking Person&#39;s Internet Time Sink</h2> <p>You should sign up for a <a href="http://www.reddit.com/">Reddit</a> account, even if you don&#39;t plan to ever post anything there. Why? Because there are entire Reddits dedicated to interesting knowledge and factoids, allowing you to simply scan and get as much or as little information as you need. In fact, there&#39;s an entire culture of &quot;TIL&quot; (&quot;Today I Learned&quot;) over at Reddit, designed just for people who love a daily supply of delicious brain candy.</p> <p><em>What&#39;s your favorite source of &quot;cocktail party&quot; conversation starters (other than Wise Bread, of course!)?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nicholas-pell">Nicholas Pell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-always-have-something-interesting-to-say">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/improve-every-conversation-with-one-simple-tactic">Improve Every Conversation With One Simple Tactic</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you">Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-people-with-good-phone-skills-never-do">9 Things People With Good Phone Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-awkwardness">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Awkwardness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-become-a-better-negotiator">5 Ways to Become a Better Negotiator</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development conversation conversation starters icebreakers Mon, 06 Jan 2014 10:49:15 +0000 Nicholas Pell 1105359 at http://www.wisebread.com Spice Up the Conversation by Skipping "What Do You Do?" http://www.wisebread.com/spice-up-the-conversation-by-skipping-what-do-you-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/spice-up-the-conversation-by-skipping-what-do-you-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/wg0CNIm0BxS1o6g8R_EZLQXKvRNu2MXEw-0bbJANB84/mtime:1368527130/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/talk-1104436-small.jpg" alt="conversation" title="conversation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few years ago I sat down to dinner with a new acquaintance while I was <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2011/09/northern-swedish-delicacies-including-surstromming/" target="_blank">visiting Sweden</a>. But the conversation was unlike any other first encounter I'd ever had, and it has changed the nature of &quot;cocktail chat&quot; for me ever since. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-ways-to-be-the-life-of-every-party" target="_blank">7 Ways to Be the Life of Every Party</a>)</p> <p>I'm not sure what inspired me. Maybe I subliminally knew she was a kindred spirit, or maybe I sensed she was dreading the standard roll call of questions people ask when getting to know each other...starting almost inevitably with:</p> <p><em>So, what do you do?</em></p> <p>I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-are-what-you-do-16-ways-to-improve-your-body-language" target="_blank">read her pursed lips</a> and took a chance. As she unfolded her napkin and prepared her &quot;elevator speech&quot; describing what she does for a living, I instead opened the conversation with a question that stopped her in her tracks:</p> <p><em>What excites you?</em></p> <p>She blinked and looked at me for a while. With each passing moment, I increasingly feared something was lost in translation or I had trodden on culturally sensitive ground.</p> <p>Then her face relaxed and she smiled widely. &quot;Nobody has asked me that before!&quot; she said as she then considered how to answer it.</p> <h2>Career and Identity</h2> <p>In an ideal world, we love what we do for a living &mdash; and it creates part of our identity. We spend a large portion of our waking lives working at our careers, so it should stand to reason. This is why an easy opening question often surrounds career.</p> <p>But for many people, careers represent little more than conduits to income, and their true identity and passion comes from their activities outside of work.</p> <p>So why not open the conversation with a question that allows somebody to talk about something exciting; something that makes them bubble over with enthusiasm &mdash; and which can ultimately lead to new frontiers of conversation?</p> <h2>The Spicy Question</h2> <p>You may wish to choose a different question than &quot;what excites you&quot; (which in some scenarios could even be construed as suggestive).</p> <p>But choose a spicy question or two to have in your coffers for your next meet-and-greet situation; it will surely lead to an interesting exchange. Keep your question open-ended &mdash; it's important not to pry. Instead, focus on something that can be answered in many different ways.</p> <p>Some ideas:</p> <ul> <li><em>What's the most important thing to you in life?</em></li> <li><em>If you had all the money in the world, what is the first thing you would do?</em></li> <li><em>What has been your greatest adventure in life so far?</em></li> <li><em>What have you always wanted to do but haven't had a chance to yet?</em></li> <li><em>If you could wave a magic wand and do or change anything, what would it be?</em></li> <li><em>Where in the world have you always wanted to visit?</em></li> <li><em>What's the number one item on your </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reverse-bucket-list-look-back-before-looking-forward" target="_blank"><em>bucket list</em></a><em>?</em></li> <li><em>What are you happiest about right now?</em></li> </ul> <p>The point of a spicy question isn't to shock your conversation partner (although often it will surprise them since it's not a &quot;standard&quot; opening question). The idea is to encourage somebody to reveal a passion, dream, experience, or story that they're excited to talk about &mdash; which in turn, leads to deeper connections, or at the very least, a conversation you'll both remember.</p> <p>Once you've asked your question, listen to the answer. According to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-charming" target="_blank">networking principles</a>, what your conversation partner says will lead you to the next question, as long as you're attentive and open-minded.</p> <p><em>What's your best &quot;spicy question&quot;?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spice-up-the-conversation-by-skipping-what-do-you-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-ways-to-be-the-life-of-every-party">Seven Ways to be the Life of Every Party</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-throw-a-fabulous-and-frugal-dinner-party">How to Throw a Fabulous (and Frugal!) Dinner Party</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vision-boards-dream-big-play-with-pictures-and-watch-your-life-change">Vision Boards: Dream Big, Play with Pictures, and Watch your Life Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-fun-and-cheap-things-to-do-during-the-weekday">8 Fun and Cheap Things to Do During the Weekday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/single-parent-try-these-10-tricks-for-entertaining-kids-on-a-budget">Single Parent? Try These 10 Tricks for Entertaining Kids on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Entertainment Lifestyle conversation networking tips relationships Tue, 14 May 2013 10:24:31 +0000 Nora Dunn 974034 at http://www.wisebread.com Smart Ways to Start and End Networking Conversations http://www.wisebread.com/smart-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/smart-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/rE0Dy2fuk64Z9v6hTa3n5IcnGiOMdv5yujb1VaGnYXM/mtime:1333620196/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5752724342_dc6303b802_z.jpg" alt="women networking" title="women networking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I first started attending networking events, I was terrified to approach large groups of strangers. I watched some of my peers dive into these situations with ease and wondered how on earth they made it look so natural. Meanwhile, I found myself sitting awkwardly alone, clutching a cocktail and desperately brainstorming conversation topics.</p> <p>Fortunately, I&rsquo;ve <a title="My Crazy Year of Networking: What I Learned from 96 People" href="http://www.thedailymuse.com/job-search/what-i-learned-networking-with-96-people-last-year/">improved my networking skills</a> over the years, and am much less likely now to stick out like a sore thumb at events. I&rsquo;ve learned that the most important part of successful networking is to have a good icebreaker to start a conversation and a smooth closing statement for when you&rsquo;re ready to move on.</p> <p>Here are a few inside tips to help you master the art of starting and ending those tricky conversations.</p> <h2>Opening Lines</h2> <p><strong>To Start a Conversation</strong></p> <p>A simple introduction can transition into a solid conversation if you&rsquo;re willing to share a bit about yourself right off the bat.</p> <p><strong>Try:</strong> Hi, I&rsquo;m Jessica, and I work in the PR department at Company X. My role has been super challenging lately because of all the new regulations around paid placements in media spots. Have you been dealing with that, too?</p> <p><strong>To Make a Friend</strong></p> <p>A big event can be a lot more fun (and <a title="An Introvert&rsquo;s Guide to Networking" href="http://www.thedailymuse.com/job-search/an-introverts-guide-to-networking/">a lot less intimidating</a>) if you can find a pal to stick by your side. Asking someone to explore different areas with you is a nice way to talk with less pressure.</p> <p><strong>Try:</strong> Hi, have you been to the silent auction table yet? I&rsquo;m heading over there now and would love some company.</p> <p><strong>To Get Advice</strong></p> <p>If you&rsquo;re interested in a new opportunity or area of work, networking is a great way to <a title="5 Keys to Acing Your Informational Interview" href="http://www.thedailymuse.com/job-search/acing-your-informational-interview/">get more information</a>. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to ask someone candid questions after giving some background on why you&rsquo;re interested.</p> <p><strong>Try:</strong> Hi, I see that you work at Company X. I&rsquo;ve always been interested in their work, and recently saw a position open up that I&rsquo;m thinking about applying to. Do you have any advice for me? What&rsquo;s it like working there?</p> <p><strong>To Get Your Bearings</strong></p> <p>Large conferences and events can be pretty overwhelming. If you&rsquo;re a first-time attendee, approaching someone for assistance can be an easy way to start a conversation. Look for someone who seems familiar with the scene and ask for an insider tip.</p> <p><strong>Try:</strong> Hi, I&rsquo;ve never been to this event before. You look like a regular &mdash; any tips you could give me on what to expect? What are the best sessions here?</p> <p><strong>To Lighten the Mood</strong></p> <p>When in doubt, ask a question to prompt a conversation. Stick with light, generic topics, and offer them with a smile.</p> <p><strong>Try:</strong> How many people do you think are here? Can you believe we have to wear these awful name tags? Were you here last year when the keynote speaker was late?</p> <h2>Parting Ways</h2> <p>The icebreakers above can be the launching pad you need to start networking and feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar situation. But unless you&rsquo;re lucky enough to stumble into your soul mate at a trade show, you&rsquo;ll eventually need a natural way to exit a conversation. A good rule of thumb is to talk for 5 to 10 minutes &mdash; and then move on.</p> <p>Here are some closing statements that are polite, but still get the point across that it&rsquo;s time to hit the road.</p> <p><strong>To Exit Gracefully</strong></p> <p>Sometimes, even when you&rsquo;ve met someone interesting, the time comes when you&rsquo;re ready to peruse the rest of the event. This is a great time to hand off one of those business cards burning a hole in your pocket.</p> <p><strong>Try:</strong>&nbsp;Steve, it was really a pleasure speaking with you. I&rsquo;m going to take a look at some of the other exhibits here, but if I don&rsquo;t run into you later, I hope to see you at another event soon.</p> <p><strong>To Connect Later On</strong></p> <p>When someone you&rsquo;ve met seems like a valuable contact, make sure you exchange information before you part. You can even <a title="5 Keys to Acing Your Informational Interview" href="http://www.thedailymuse.com/job-search/acing-your-informational-interview/">suggest a future meeting</a> to speak one-on-one.</p> <p><strong>Try:</strong> Margaret, I have to head out right now, but I really enjoyed learning more about your work. Could I get your contact info to schedule a time for us to finish our conversation?</p> <p><strong>To Plan a Follow-up Date</strong></p> <p>If you think that you&rsquo;ll run into a new contact at another upcoming event, why not plan to attend together? This helps you build a relationship with a good connection and can help you feel more comfortable at that next event.</p> <p><strong>Try:</strong> I had a great time talking with you &mdash; are you planning to go to the expo next month? It seems like something that would be relevant to both of us, so maybe we could go together.</p> <p><strong>To Get Advice and Get Out the Door</strong></p> <p>A new contact can be a valuable resource, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean you need a shadow all night. When it&rsquo;s time to part ways, be honest that you&rsquo;d like to follow up at a later date, and then say a polite goodbye.</p> <p><strong>Try:</strong>&nbsp;Mike, I&rsquo;m in a tricky stage in my career and wonder if I could pick your brain for advice over lunch some time soon. I need to say hello to a few others here, but can we plan to connect next week?</p> <p><strong>To Just Flee the Scene</strong></p> <p>Sometimes, you end up talking to someone who really isn&rsquo;t that pleasant or interesting. I once got trapped in an endless conversation about uses for old dryer sheets (I wish I was kidding). When you&rsquo;re struggling for more conversation and need a reprieve, be kind, but assertive.</p> <p><strong>Try:</strong> Laura, it&rsquo;s been great getting to know you, but I need to say hello to a few more folks around here. I hope you have a great evening.</p> <p>Networking isn&rsquo;t always smooth sailing, and most of us have at least a few awkward experiences to share. But learning how to start and close conversations is one of the best ways to master this important skill. With any luck, you&rsquo;ll make some connections, you&rsquo;ll find some event buddies, and you&rsquo;ll gain some helpful professional resources.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Networking can be incredibly valuable...once you get the conversation started. Follow these suggestions to get in and out of conversations with ease. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><em>This is a guest post from </em><a href="http://misadventuresblog.com/"><em>Jessica Taylor</em></a><em> of The </em><a href="http://www.thedailymuse.com/"><em>The Daily Muse</em></a><em>. Check out more great personal finance and career building advice from The Daily Muse:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.thedailymuse.com/job-search/3-ways-to-answer-whats-your-biggest-weakness/">3 Ways to Answer &quot;What's Your Biggest Weakness&quot;?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.thedailymuse.com/social/how-a-list-can-change-your-life/">How a List Can Change Your Life</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.thedailymuse.com/job-search/6-ways-to-network-in-a-new-city/">6 Ways to Network in a New City</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daily-muse">Daily Muse</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smart-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you">Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-upside-of-mass-layoffs">The Upside of Mass Layoffs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-go-to-college-to-learn">Don&#039;t Go to College to Learn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/networking-basics-for-regular-people">Networking Basics for Regular People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-help-you-land-a-job">5 Online Tools to Help You Land a Job</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building communication conversation networking Thu, 05 Apr 2012 09:48:14 +0000 Daily Muse 915133 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Become a Better Negotiator http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-become-a-better-negotiator <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-become-a-better-negotiator" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/svnqoXS6e2qMSyWxWqNfiICw1VOJA9JNoE6tXsMzap0/mtime:1305023175/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/negotiating.jpg" alt="Two men talking" title="Two men talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I used to love negotiating over email. It's much easier than trying it in person because there's no face to speak to. Over email, there's time to formulate a response or counter offer without being put on the spot. In person, I never knew where to begin, and as soon as it got awkward, I'd get all red and start to sweat. Not exactly the best poker face.</p> <p>So I set out to do some in-person negotiating to get some practice. There are tons of opportunities to negotiate in person, and most negotiations occur outside of conference rooms. These tips will help you become the expert in-person negotiator you can be. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/negotiating-101-the-5-buyers-you-meet-in-hell">Negotiating 101: The 5 Buyers You Meet in&nbsp;Hell</a>)</p> <h3>1. Consider the Worst-Case Scenario</h3> <p>Nobody likes to get rejected, but if you never ask, the answer is always no. If you're trying to save $10 on a used <a href="http://sweatingthebigstuff.com/the-ups-and-downs-of-selling-an-iphone-oncraigslist/">iPhone you found on Craigslist</a>, just ask! If the seller agrees, you can smile extra wide when you're making that first phone call to your mom. If the seller declines, you're right back where you started, at the original price, so there's no harm done! No seller would be so taken aback by a low offer that they would then refuse to accept the money they're looking for. The worst-case scenario really isn't so bad, so there's no harm in asking.</p> <h3>2. Ask for Something Extra</h3> <p>Nobody likes to accept less than what they were hoping to get for an item. Why would they? But there's a good strategy you can employ so that the seller thinks they win while you still save money. Instead of asking for a discount, ask for some add-ons that you'll need anyway. In the iPhone example, you may be planning on buying a case and some screen protectors, so even if your first offer is declined, you can come back with this. The seller would still get all the money he wanted, and you'd get some free extras that you were going to spend money on later anyway.</p> <h3>3. Go Low, Meet in the Middle</h3> <p>If you ask for a $5 discount, there's very little room for counter-offers. By asking for $20 off, even if you know the other party will reject it, there's opportunity for finding middle ground. Maybe they say they can only do $10, which is what you were going for anyway, so you'll still reach your desired outcome! Don't be afraid to go low and gauge the reaction of the seller to determine your next move.</p> <h3>4. Silence Is Golden</h3> <p>When you get nervous and talk about why it's such a great deal, you're really digging yourself into a bigger hole. You end up sounding desperate, and in a negotiation, when one side is desperate, there's little incentive to meet in the middle. After all, why lower demands if you know someone will buy at a higher price? I know wouldn't! Try <a href="http://sweatingthebigstuff.com/silence-can-be-a-great-negotiating-tactic/">silence as a negotiating tactic</a>. There will be no penalty, and by shutting your mouth, you'll come off as cool and relaxed instead of nervous!</p> <h3>5. Create a Win-Win Situation</h3> <p>Not every negotiation needs to be a win-lose situation. When you're negotiating, it's already clear that both parties are interested in reaching a positive outcome. So show the other party how you can both get what you want. I like to look good (can't you tell from my picture?), so when I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-minimize-the-cost-of-living-when-moving-the-cost-of-living-myth">moved to a new city</a>, I proposed a great situation to my barber: I'll come in more often if you chop <a href="http://sweatingthebigstuff.com/looking-good-while-saving-money/">$5 off the cost of each haircut</a>. He gets my business and my money, and I get to look my best without burning a hole in my pocket. He agreed in a heartbeat.</p> <p>You don't need to wear a fancy suit to be a good negotiator. Find a few places to test these tactics, and let us know how they work out!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daniel-packer">Daniel Packer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-become-a-better-negotiator">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-little-words-that-will-get-you-the-best-price-every-time">10 Little Words That Will Get You the Best Price, Every Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/improve-every-conversation-with-one-simple-tactic">Improve Every Conversation With One Simple Tactic</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-jobs-proven-to-make-you-live-longer">5 Jobs Proven to Make You Live Longer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you">Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-a-financial-5-year-plan">How to Create a Financial 5 Year Plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Career and Income Personal Development conversation haggling negotiating Tue, 19 Apr 2011 13:37:34 +0000 Daniel Packer 519078 at http://www.wisebread.com Seven Ways to be the Life of Every Party http://www.wisebread.com/seven-ways-to-be-the-life-of-every-party <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/seven-ways-to-be-the-life-of-every-party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/vvSi0YzCzwelhXj_xR8XOk1W1OBUGfXeiPVLWs6XNJg/mtime:1301250130/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/how%20to%20be%20the%20life%20of%20every%20party.jpg" alt="party time" title="party time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="374" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">Have you ever been to a party where there’s this one person who seems to make it around <span> </span>the room? They flit from group to group, leaving everybody craving more but yet not feeling unsatisfied by the brief chat they had. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">“Oh _______, aren’t they marvelous?” party-goers croon. “I’d love to get to know them better.” </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">How would you like to be that person? Here are a few tips to help you become the life of every party, without requiring that you step outside of your comfort zone or change your personality. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Ask Questions<br /></h2> <p class="MsoNormal">This is the single biggest ticket to making people think you are the most engaging and interesting person in the world. Get them to talk about themselves! </p> <p class="MsoNormal">As much as people will feign interest in other party-goers’ lives and stories, the truth is that most people find “number one” to be the most important and fascinating phenomenon. <span> </span>If you continue to ask the right questions to keep them talking, they’ll rarely run out of things to say. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">And how do you ask the right questions?</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Listen</h2> <p class="MsoNormal">Studies have shown over and over again that people engaged in conversation hear only a fraction of what is being said to them because they’re formulating what they want to say next. Communication ultimately breaks down when neither party is actually listening to the other, and all of a sudden nobody remembers what the thread of the conversation was really about. Cue in the “awkward pause”. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">By listening – really listening – and not worrying about your response to what they are saying, you will inevitably get more than enough information to continue to the conversation. Continue to ask questions based on what they are saying, and keep them talking. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Smile</h2> <p class="MsoNormal">It seems silly, but people will want to talk to somebody who smiles at them. It suggests an openness to communication, and will immediately put them at ease. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Make Eye Contact</h2> <p class="MsoNormal">Looking directly at your conversation partner is important. Make them feel that they are the only person in the room. So even if your chat is brief, they will be made to feel that it was intense and meaningful. If you spend the whole conversation looking past them or keeping an eye on the door to see if somebody more interesting is arriving, the conversation was wasted and your partner’s pride and self-confidence will likely take a hit. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Face Your Partner</h2> <p class="MsoNormal">Body language is 90% of the game, so right along with smiling and maintaining eye contact is squaring off with them. <span> </span>You can take this even further by mirroring their actions. No really. Mirror them. You’ll find that they won’t notice (as long as you’re not mirroring them doing something silly or overt like jumping jacks!), and subconsciously it creates a very deep connection. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Take Interest</h2> <p class="MsoNormal">You do have to have some sort of interest in what your conversational partner is saying in order for the steps above to flow and work. If you cannot bring yourself to take the slightest interest in what they are saying, then it’s time to move on. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Know When to Move On </h2> <p class="MsoNormal">Have you ever been at a party, sucked into a dark corner of the room, and had your ear talked off by somebody? You glance sideways at passers by and other groups, wondering what they’re talking about. Surely they’re engaged in a more interesting conversation than yours. <span> </span>It’s time to move on. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">There are many ways to politely excuse yourself. The most obvious techniques involve <strong>external influences</strong>: the need to use the washroom, get a drink, or meet up with somebody you haven’t seen in ages who seems to be looking for you. (“mom? Is that you?”)</p> <p class="MsoNormal">And if you are truly cornered by a blabbermouth with no end in sight, then you may have to simply interrupt them to make your escape. <strong>Do it nicely, and with a smile</strong>, and although the initial interruption may feel abrupt, they’ll understand and soon forget your exit once they corner somebody else. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">If you want to have lots of conversations and don’t want to run off to the washroom every time you are ready to move on, then the art of working a room comes into play. Although it takes some practice and is an acquired skill, eventually it can become almost natural. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">A professional networker I once knew said that if you are really trying to work a large room, you should stay in conversation for 2-5 minutes, no longer. I personally don’t find that long enough to generate a real connection with somebody, and would rather speak with fewer people and have more meaningful conversations (mine last 5-10 minutes on average at a large party). It ultimately depends on the type of function you are attending, how many people are there, and how well people know one another. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The truth is if you are asking all the questions, <strong>you can engineer the conversation to come to an end</strong>. Find a way to bring some conclusion to the topic you are discussing, by asking a question that gets your partner to tie up or summarize their situation. Once they have finished answering that question, smile and genuinely express interest in their reply and wish them luck. Say you see somebody else who you need to speak to and you want to catch them before they leave, and express interest in continuing the conversation a little later if you can. (No promises). </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">So there you have it. You don’t have to share stories of epic adventure with song and dance in order to be the life of a party. You just have to get other people to do it. They’ll love sharing their stories, and you’ll likely have a great time yourself by virtue of listening to them. You’ll learn a lot, generate awesome connections, make friends, and be “that person” that everybody knows and enjoys talking to. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The next time you go to a party, try these techniques. Just try them. Even if it feels a little forced to begin with, you’ll get into the flow and it will be a piece of cake from there on in. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-ways-to-be-the-life-of-every-party">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vision-boards-dream-big-play-with-pictures-and-watch-your-life-change">Vision Boards: Dream Big, Play with Pictures, and Watch your Life Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-cost-of-full-time-travel">The Cost of Full-Time Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spice-up-the-conversation-by-skipping-what-do-you-do">Spice Up the Conversation by Skipping &quot;What Do You Do?&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-a-good-and-memorable-first-impression">Making a good and memorable first impression.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/soy-milk-tofu-and-veggie-burgers-for-pennies-anyone">Soy Milk, Tofu, and Veggie Burgers for pennies, anyone?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Food and Drink Lifestyle Art and Leisure body language conversation networking party questions Fri, 04 Apr 2008 00:00:59 +0000 Nora Dunn 1975 at http://www.wisebread.com