You can learn to converse with anyone by following a few helpful tips. If you’re the type of person who struggles with striking up a conversation with someone who has a different approach to communication than you, keep reading!
A Shining Light
My friend Valerie was a shining light in life. She passed away at the age of 45 many years ago. But I’m not here to talk about her passing today. I’m here to talk about her life, and more specifically, what I admired most about her.
She was an artful conversationalist. who had a knack for making me feel like whatever was coming out of my mouth was the most important thing she’d heard that day. She seemed to connect with everyone in this way, regardless of their communication style. Valerie had that ability to converse with anyone.
Communication styles come in several formats. According to Toastmaster’s International there are direct communicators, those confident ones who enjoy a competitive edge to their conversations. There are Initiator communicators. They are those gregarious types who enjoy expressing their feelings and emotions. There are also analytical communicators. They are those who prefer no nonsense, fact-based conversations. And finally there are supportive communicators. They appreciate a calm, steady approach to their conversations.
I’ve seen Valerie converse artfully with people from all of these communication styles.
Based on observation, I believe Valerie was a supportive communicator. I, too, according to Toastmaster’s online assessment, am a supportive communicator, but nowhere near Valerie in terms of her artful approach.
You see, Valerie had an ability for bringing out the best qualities of a person’s communication style and turning a conversation into what appeared to be a beautiful piece of conversation art.
What did she do to make it possible to have a productive conversation with someone who possessed an entirely different set of conversation principles than she?
3 Things to Help You Converse with Anyone
Today I’m going to share with you three things that I believe makes a person such a great communicator regardless of their communication style based on what I observed from one of the greatest communicators I had the pleasure of knowing.
Listen More than Speak
The first quality that made Valerie such a great communicator was that she listened more than she spoke. She’d pose a thought or question and let it marinate between us, encouraging me to talk it out. She’d sit across from me reassuring me with a nod or smile, clueing me in that she was fully invested in what I had to say. I always walked away feeling valued and deeply understood.
Show Great Interest
The second quality that made Valerie such a great communicator was that she showed great interest in our conversation. She wasn’t glancing around the room wondering what everyone else was doing. No. She made great eye contact, showed great enthusiasm, and made me feel like I was the most important thing happening in her life at that moment.
Respect the Opinions of Others
The third quality that made Valerie such a great communicator was that she respected other people’s points of view. I’m a million percent positive she didn’t agree with everything that came out of my mouth. Yet, she never made me feel less than for having a different opinion. She approached our conversations with an open mind, one that reminded me of a curious child eager to learn as many new things about the world as possible. I felt respected and, in that shared respect, we enjoyed beautiful exchanges about life.
Converse with Anyone and Bring Out Their Best
My friend Valerie taught me that whether we’re direct, initiating, analytical, or supportive communicators, we can bring out the best in others through listening more and talking less, showing interest in the other person, and respecting their right to have a different set of ideas than our own.
The next time you become tongue-tied around someone with a different approach to communication, try one of these qualities out for yourself, or all of them. Turn your conversations into a piece of art by helping others to see that they are the most important person to you in that moment of shared time together.