You don’t know many people there. Not yet, anyway. It would be so much easier if everyone had a label pinned to them. No need for all the preliminaries, at least you’d know a bit about them to get the conversation started. You’d like to disappear, run away…
He’s coming over. The balding man in a drab jacket. Very British. Doesn’t look at all interesting. You take a deep breath, try to find your friendly face and say,
‘Hello! I don’t believe we’ve met! I’m Trish. I live next door.’
He beams. ‘Hello! Good to meet you! I’m Henry. I’ve just moved here.’
(And you know exactly what you’ll say next, don’t you?)
‘Nice to meet you, Henry. And what do you do?’
He looks down at his freshly polished shoes.
‘I’m one of the Queen’s body guards!’
You stare at him for a moment. Surely not. He looks so… ordinary. You grin, embarrassed and then the grin turns to a genuine smile and you say,
‘I’d love to hear more, Henry! Are you allowed to talk about it?’
He fetches you both a drink and you talk animatedly for the next half an hour. He’s such a compelling story-teller you realise he’s quite the most interesting man at the party.
I have just up-dated my ‘This is me’ page. (It’s at the top of this page.) I’m following the A-List Bloggers Boot Camp and this was one of the tasks in our first assignment. It’s hard knowing what to put in and what to leave out when I’m writing about myself. I want to connect with you but I don’t want to be boring about it or you’ll fly away!
The process of up-dating made me think about how it’s so easy to judge one another with very little information. When you meet someone for the first time, what impression do you give? What information do you give them? And what do you leave out?
Communication is what it’s all about. So much confusion and misunderstanding results from poor communication.
Here’s my Positive Spin on How To Communicate.
- Tell the truth.
How often have you heard someone boasting about their achievements? Exaggerating their successes? Why do they do it? Because they’re scared of not measuring up, not being good enough. They have low self-esteem. Do you find yourself exaggerating sometimes?
- Watch and learn.
At this time of year you’ll have plenty of opportunities to watch people at social events. Focus on one person who is communicating well. Does he talk more than listen? Look at his body language, how he stands, how much eye contact he makes. Pick one aspect to try out in your next conversation. I promise it works! I’ve done it…
- Listen more than talk.
It’s easy to talk too much when you’re nervous. We all do it. But one of the secrets to good communication is to focus on the other person. Completely. Make them feel as if there’s no-one else in the room. Listen, but don’t chime in with what you’re dying to say. Wait. Ask questions. Ask them to tell you more. And whatever you do, don’t look around to find someone more interesting to talk to. You know how that feels, and it’s not good.
What would you write on your ‘This is me’ page?
More to the point, what would you leave out?
What do you think is the secret to good communication?
Do tell us, we all need all the help we can get!
Header image by cursedthing, post image by Dustin Diaz, on Flickr.