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Doe’s and Don’ts for 3/23/09: Tips for Becoming a Great Conversationalist

March 23, 2009

mlyn226lTo get through an interview effectively and also build trust and relationships in business social settings, conversation is the key! At the very least, force yourself to ask good questions and talk about something besides the weather. Here are tips on how to master the art of conversation from Work 101 by Elizabeth Freedman, M.B.A.

Don’t forget to introduce yourself! When the moment presents itself, extend your hand, smile, look someone in the eye, and simply say something along the lines of “Hi, I’m Alice Smith. I work with John in Accounting.”

Don’t be Afraid to take a risk or two. This doesn’t mean you dump the details of the latest fight with your boyfriend on your colleagues, but don’t be afraid to show your human side if you really want to create connections.

Don’t be overcome with a case of shyness. When it comes to asking questions, to sharing ideas, and exchanging information, you simply cannot shrink and hide in a corner. Force yourself to talk if you must, but do it!

Don’t Interrupt. Even if you don’t intend to come across as rude, you send the message that “my idea is way more important than yours” when you do.

Don’t ramble or dominate the conversation. Like the interrupter, the ramble send the unintentional message of “Listen to me, everybody!”

Do listen! So often, we only half-listen to someone else, and while they are talking we are crafting our own witty comeback to offer once they are done. Force yourself to truly focus on the people you are with. Use good eye contact, smile and show them you are really with them by asking good questions that refer to what they just said.

Do think of a conversation like a good tennis match. Your job is to keep the ball in play. Break the ice by asking interesting open-ended questions. If you are the youngest person at the table, or you’re surrounded by people who are more senior in title then you, let them serve the ball first and once they do, don’t be afraid to return the serve with some intelligent comments.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Trisha permalink
    March 24, 2009 1:43 am

    Great post! This is helpful in all aspects of life. I wish I had read something like this when I first came to college. It would be helpful during orientation week when you’re meeting so many new people and during fraternity or sorority recruitment. I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind during my next job interview! Thanks!

  2. Stephanie permalink
    March 25, 2009 12:11 am

    This is definitely good information for all aspects of life considering communication is a constant in our society whether we like it or not. Even when one thinks they are not communicating (by not verbally speaking) we are still communicating through body language and the like. I feel these tips are especially helpful when it comes to a very dominate and outspoken person or a very shy person in a group interview setting because it reminds us not to overpower the conversation, but encourages us to speak some and always actively listen to other individuals involved. I also feel like “Don’t Interrupt” is a good one to remember because some us unconciously interrupt others, by including that in this list it reminds us to be concious and aware of that going into an interview. Thanks for sharing these tips with us!

  3. March 25, 2009 4:48 am

    solid post.

    I love me some doe’s and donts.

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