Friday, September 27, 2013

Connection is Critical


After attending a recent conference, I thought about the importance of being about to communicate with various types of people. With some preparation, we who are introverts can be ready to chat.

I spent four years while in my late teens to early twenties, as a secretary at a major university. I was shy and naïve and being around professors and their wives, especially at social events for the department, brought me much angst. One trick I learned was to stand beside one of the professor’s wives, who was a great
conversationalist (yea, she talked too much), and she would always bring me into the exchange. I have found that I unconsciously do the same thing; I try to include those who seem to be on the edge of the conversation.

Another thing that has helped me is a quirky hobby I once had. I made a game of memorizing the locations of major corporations across the country and the manufacturer of certain appliances or equipment in everyday use. For example, many high school lockers were manufactured in Canton, Ohio, which was indicated on the outside of the locker. I also realized, for example, that Marathon Oil Company was in Findlay, Ohio. This played out when I was at a dinner event and met another attendee who was from Findlay. When I mentioned this to them, they were surprised that I knew this and it was the beginning of a great conversation.

Another idea is to keep a notebook or journal listing unique or interesting facts that you could bring out of your arsenal when you are in a social situation. Try to write down questions you want to ask and think about possible responses and how you would react to carry on the conversation.

Ask questions, such as: “Where do you live?” “What do you do for work?” Then ask specific questions about the event you are both attending. Usually people will open up when asked about themselves.

With some preparation, introverts can become temporary extroverts and a little coffee doesn’t hurt.

 How about you? What helps you to communicate?

 

 

 

3 comments:

  1. It is definitely easier for me to ask others about themselves. Great tips, Tammie, from a great conversationalist. :)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, sometimes I find it easier to ask others about themselves, especially when I am at a place in my writing that I don't want to talk about.

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  2. One thing I've learned to do is to ask about things I'm genuinely interested in, and not be afraid of being thought nosy! Sometimes I look at it from the point of view of a writer trying to get character ideas. ;-)

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