Soft Skills

First Step in the Way to Become a Good Conversationalist

‘There is no mystery about successful business intercourse. Exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you is very important. Nothing else is so flattering as that.’

Charles W. Eliot
Harvard president

Listening is just as important in one’s home life as in the world of business.

Millie Esposito of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, made it her business to listen carefully when one of her children wanted to speak with her.
One evening she was sitting in the kitchen with her son, Robert, and after a brief discussion of something that was on his mind,
Robert said: ‘Mom, I know that you love me very much.’ Mrs. Esposito was touched and said: ‘Of course I love you very much. Did you doubt it?’ Robert responded: ‘No, but I really know you love me because whenever I want to talk to you about something you stop whatever you are doing and listen to me.’

See by listening carefully to kids, parents can make such a strong bond with their children.

Isaac F. Marcosson, a journalist who interviewed hundreds of celebrities, declared that many people fail to make a favorable impression because they don’t listen attentively.
‘They have been so much concerned with what they are going to say next that they do not keep their ears open.
Very important people have told me that they prefer good listeners to good talkers, but the ability to listen seems rarer than almost any other good trait.’

And not only important people crave a good listener, but ordinary folk do too.

As the Readers’s Digest once said: ‘Many persons call a doctor when all they want is an audience.’

Once Lincoln call a friend in a situation where he didn’t wanted advice as told by his friend. He was wanting merely a friendly, sympathetic listener to whom he could unburden himself.

That’s what we all want when we are in trouble. That is frequently all the irritated customer wants, and the dissatisfied employee or the hurt friend.

If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back and even despise you, here is the recipe:
Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don’t wait for him or her to finish: bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence.
This will make them laugh behind you back.

Now you don’t want that, Right?

Do you know people like that?

Unfortunately; and the astonishing part of it is that some of them are prominent.

Bores, that is all they are – bores intoxicated with their own egos, drunk with a sense of their own importance.

People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves.

‘Those people who think only of themselves, are hopelessly uneducated. They are not educated, no matter how instructed they may be.’

Dr. Nicholas Murray Butley
President of Columbia University

So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener.

To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.

Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems.

Think of that the next time you start a conversation.

Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

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