The rules of GOOD conversationSeptember 29, 2017
My ultimate concierge and I love to converse with one another. We live an active lifestyle and have had opportunity after opportunity to speak with people from all walks of life. We know a thing or two about good conversation.
All of us, darlings, have had a myriad of conversations, playing on all of our emotions.
Conversation is what makes and breaks relationships. Though we are women over 50, we can continue to learn the rules of good conversation.
I could write a book filled with stories of conversations that tap into every type of emotion. Here are two stories that will put you in a happy mood.
How following the rules of GOOD conversation helped me clean up my act!
I thought I was interviewing a prospective housekeeper. It turned out that she interviewed me. She entered our conversation with topic readiness. Here’s what happened…
It was a beautiful sunny day in Honolulu. The trade winds were softly blowing through our home. I opened the door smiling and saw this middle-aged woman in a white uniform with white shoes smiling back at me. I liked her instantly. It was the twinkle in her eye.
I invited her into my kitchen. We sat across from one another sipping iced tea. Before I could open my mouth to interview Edie she jumped in and began to question me. She was older, and I gave her the floor.
She began, “There are certain things I need if I accept this position as your housekeeper.”
I stared at her, quite amused. She held me captive with her big smile and twinkling blue eyes and all I could say was, “OK.”
She went on, “I will only work for a woman under certain circumstances.”
“What are they?” I questioned.
“Do you have an Electrolux?” she asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Do you have Parson’s ammonia?” she asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Do you have white distilled vinegar?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“Are you Jewish?” she asked.
I could not believe what I was hearing. I loved this woman. “Yes,” I answered, laughing.
“You passed,” she said.
“When can I start?” she asked.
She became part of our family and helped me, for years, until her knees finally gave out.
Edie’s words exposed her openness and sense of humor. Fabulous qualities, darlings.
A conversation between my husband, our friend and me…
The three of us were at the driving range of a golf course. My husband and our friend were hitting golf balls. I was an observer, sitting on the grass within walking distance.
Our friend said to me, “Why aren’t you hitting golf balls?”
“I had surgery a few weeks ago and can’t play golf for a month.”
He said, “Did you go to Northwestern?”
I looked at him, bewildered and replied, “No, I went to Wisconsin.”
He looked at me bewildered.
My husband said, “Suzi, he wants to know what hospital you were in, not what college you attended.”
We all laughed so hard.
This short conversation is indicative of how words get lost in translation.
My problem area…
Unfortunately, we cannot always turn on a switch and program our conversations. We are all vulnerable in some area.
I do not like emotional confrontation. I am not quick on my feet. I am not a one-upper type of woman. I prefer to walk away. In a sense that is a good solution. In another sense, if the person means a lot to me nothing is solved by walking away.
This is how I solved my problem:
~ I ask the person to tell me what is bothering her. I listen and validate her feelings. I am good at that. If I cannot think of the right words to express my feelings, I end the conversation, telling the person,
“I need time to think about this.”
This gives me time to digest my thoughts quietly.
If I cannot find a solution to the situation, you know my saying darlings, DELETE.
The Do’s and Don’ts of GOOD Conversation
Conversation is supposed to be flowing. Where you know the right thing to say and make it sound effortless. For many women this is difficult. They feel anxious and even stressed and though they want to enjoy GOOD conversation, they can’t.
They can’t seem to take the conversation beyond small talk and for many different reasons they struggle.
I have learned over the years that conversation is a skill. We can all learn to converse at a luncheon with strangers or win us new friends and even end conflicts within our family if we use these DOs…
Do: Listen before you speak. First and foremost, show your warmth by your interest. Do not be a conversational narcissist. It is funny but true; the real art of good conversation is not in talking, but in listening. Why? Because people like to talk about themselves and you get a glimpse of their personality.
Do: Take turns. Conversation is a two-way street. Tidbits here and there. No monologues, please.
Do: Adapt your conversation to your listener or listeners. For example, don’t talk about politics unless everyone is on the same page.
Don’t: Put your foot into your mouth. Don’t talk about how happy you are in your new relationship if the listener is divorced.
Don’t: Interrupt… this makes the other person feel irrelevant.
Don’t: Leave people out of the conversation. In other words, don’t get into a discussion with one person and ice the others out. Spread your eye contact around the table.
Don’t: Overshare your feelings. You want to leave people a bit intrigued. They will want to learn more and want to cultivate a relationship.
I enjoy opening my conversations with a compliment and a question. For example, “I just bought this new shade of Channel lipstick, Plume. I love your nail polish. It matches my lipstick. Might I ask the color?”
You shared, and hopefully, she will share and now… the conversation starts on a positive note.
The rules of good communication are very important. I have just touched the surface.
I will end my musings with three things that draw me to a person.
3. Camaraderie. “We” both feel a bond.
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If you have something to say about this story… let’s talk! I want so much to hear your opinions + feelings. I also want you to speak up so that women our age remain visible. I think we have a responsibility to share our wisdom, don’t you? Share yours either in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.