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  • Maya Rose

Tips&Tricks for a good conversation

My best friend showed me this book her mom had given her. It’s called “How to win friends and influence people for girls” (although I don't agree with the book only being addressed to girls) by Donna Dale Carnegie. The book gives advice on how to become popular, how to persuade people or just have a deep conversation with someone. It made me think about how I really act around others and if I could improve my self-awareness. I started writing a series of chapters in the book to help spread this self-awareness and maybe even help you become that perfect, popular person you’ve always wanted to be! Well, hope you enjoy my series!

Part I

Good Conversations 101

Humans are social mammals. We live in families and big societies. We’ve created cities, countries, governments and more, but to make these things happen, we need to work together and understand each other. One of the biggest parts of making us the intelligent mammals we are was the evolution of language and speech. Imagine being unable to communicate with your peers! It would be difficult to socialize. We’ve evolved a lot over time, considering that humans have existed for about 2 million years. About 7 thousand languages exist today, English being the most used and understood language.

Languages help us communicate our feelings, thoughts and ideas. These communications are called conversation. One can have a conversation about any topic, but to have a good conversation is hard. Creating a good conversation takes focus, connection and respect. Here are some tips on how to achieve these three factors:

1. Focus:

Conversations can involve two or more people. It’s important, especially in big conversations, to actively listen to each other. Knowing someone will take their time to listen to you and hear what you have to say is always a nice feeling as well as it benefiting yourself. As Donna Dale Carnegie said, “The truth is, listening will make you not only more aware and empathetic – it will actually make you more effective as a communicator.”

2. Connection:

You don’t want a one-sided conversation. This will only make the person (or people) you're having a conversation with want to stop talking to you. Add onto what they're saying with your own thoughts and opinions on. Not only will this avoid having one-sided conversations but it will also help the other person get to know you better too. Donna Dale Carnegie put it this way: “Of course we all want and need to share our daily successes, failures, and discoveries. […] In fact, if we’re going to develop deep, meaningful relationships with friends, family or anyone else, it’s vital that we do share.”

3. Respect:

I’m sure everyone knows the basics regarding having a polite conversation: look interested, watch your tone, don’t interrupt etc.. But sometimes that rule appears to be hard to follow. When having a conversation and it occurs that someone says something you don’t agree with or find rude, you will be tempted to interrupt them. This interruption could lead to an argument where you will very likely try and talk over each other or just start yelling at each other. When you don’t like something someone says because you're offended by their comment/criticism, your first instinct will be to correct them or defend your point of view. Dale Carnegie once said, “Criticism is futile. It puts a person on the defensive and makes him strive to justify himself.” Dale Carnegie felt strongly about criticism so he always taught: don’t criticize, complain, or condemn. It’s hard not to use these three as a comeback when someone has just said something against you. One needs to carry true self control to avoid such criticism. Donna Dale Carnegie stated: “You don’t have to make the same mistake yourself; by finding ways to be less critical of others as well as learning how to use negative energy to your advantage, anyone can learn how to deal with tough situations.” Next time you are faced with criticism, try to be more self-aware when answering.

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