How to Kill a Conversation | Seven Easy Ways

How to Kill a Conversation | Seven Easy Ways

How to kill a conversation | Seven easy ways:

Regardless of our intention, sometimes discussions flop either in midsentence or even at the onset.  Why is this?  Well, there are many answers.  Join me, will you, as we discover and discuss how to kill a conversation in seven easy ways.

Do you ever hear people often say; “I’m shy; I don’t know how to have conversations,” or “Nobody talks to me?”

I do, often, and guess what?  I call bullshit.  Anyone can learn the basics of practical communication and have better dialogue if they desire to do so.  There are so many techniques and tutorials on the free market.  Just Google search “how to have better conversations” and there are over a billion commentaries to reference.

Don’t be this guy

For this analysis, though, we are going to approach the art of conversation differently.  As you read through this article, you will quickly identify these common killers of conversation and hopefully avoid doing them!  Your confidence will grow with and as you continue to converse with others, your engagement will become more dynamic and appealing.

Honestly, it is very frustrating talking to somebody who won’t engage.  What’s even worse than the quiet type are the people who often use one or more of these common ways to halt the talk.  People want to dialogue and connect with others.  So let’s identify seven easy ways to kill a conversation, so we can bring awareness, and create a more meaningful connection.

Lack of Eye Contact

Nothing says, “I am not interested” louder than someone who will not make eye contact with me.  While meeting each other eye to eye can sometimes be difficult, eye contact is essential to connection.

Imagine, you are standing in a room face to face with another person talking about something.  Meanwhile, the other person is scanning the room for something to catch their eye.  To me, that speaks, “I am preoccupied with something else and I am not nearly as interested in what you are saying.”  Killer, right?

Fidgeting, scanning the room, and fixating on someone’s wardrobe are all ways to circumvent eye contact.  For instance, I approach you to tell you about my new job promotion.  I am excited and as I begin to share, you reach up and fix my necklace.  This small gesture or interruption can negate our entire conversation thus leaving me to feel less important than my necklace hook.    Avoiding distractions such as these are key to maintaining better eye contact.

True, it can be very uncomfortable staring eye to eye with somebody, and you will, at some time, need to break the gaze.  Knowing when to glance away can be tricky.  As a general rule, make eye contact while the other person is talking to you.  Look away briefly as you speak, and then reconnect with your eyes.

Your Mobile Device

Today, it seems as though more people glue themselves to their screens.   I find it frustrating to chat with someone while they are continually looking at their phone.   Would you agree?  Our mobile devices are quickly becoming our go-to friend and the topic of conversation.

Admittedly, when situations become uncomfortable or awkward, I reach for the comfort of social media.  Unfortunately, our gadgets are a disruptive force in our communication.

What I am talking about are irritating ring tones, buzzers, and sounds.  I know sometimes they help you identify your caller as to whether you are going to take a call or disregard it.  However, when engaged in a chat between two or more people, it begins to sound like a child asking for a new toy.  These interruptions quickly become annoying and frustrating.  For me, it tells me that whatever we are talking about is less significant than the incoming call.

Sometimes an incoming call or message is urgent, and you must attend to it.  Perhaps, though, avoiding this common conversation killer is as easy as stating right up front that you are waiting on a call from somebody, and you might have to cut this conversation short.  Maybe you could even say something like; I have an urgent message that could come through any minute.  So thank you for allowing me to monitor my texts and calls while we are speaking.

Talking Shop

Effective communication is a two-way street.  Unless you are teaching someone something specific, it is better to leave the “shop” terms out of the conversation.  People are not impressed with your in-depth knowledge of widget making unless, of course, you are directly talking about widgets.

To keep the flow going, try sticking to the broader aspects of the subject.  Being extremely detailed in the topic can lead your friends to Bordomsville, especially when they have no idea what all your acronyms mean.

Interruption

Interrupting, by far, is the quickest way to kill a conversation.  Although there may be times that it is necessary to interject, err on the side of caution.  Intentionally disrupting the flow of the dialogue is very frustrating to everyone.  The interruption can come across as impolite or even rude.

Allow the other person to finish their statements, and perhaps as they do, they will answer your question before you have to ask.  Hang in there, and you will have ample time to respond.

Dropping the Volley

Have you ever played volleyball?  Team 1 serves the ball, Team 2 volleys the ball back across the net, Team 1 sets it up and hits it back over the net.  They continue this play until one of the teams misses the shot.

At times, my conversations sometimes sound like interrogations, especially if the other person doesn’t understand the fundamentals of basic communication.  I serve the question or statement; the other person responds without sending something back to me.

For instance:

Me: Hey SusieQ, How’s the new job?

SusieQ: It’s fine

Me: So, what’s your day like now that you are back to work?

Susie: Get up, go to work, come home, sleep.

Me: (Kill me now)

OR

Me: Hey SusieQ, How’s the new job?

SusieQ: It’s pretty good.  There is a lot of new information and I am a little overwhelmed.  I have been out of the workforce for 15 years, so I hope I can catch up.  Have you ever thought about going back to work?

Me: Sure, actually a lot.  And I am sure I would feel the same way.  It can be scary and intimidating for sure.  Tell me about your coworkers?

A continuous chatter back and forth is how a conversation should work.  Learn to volley.   Person 1 makes a leading statement or question.  Person 2 responds with another prominent comment or perhaps a matter of their own.  Volley back and forth.  They ask, and you answer, you ask, and they respond.  See how nice that sounds?

Shuffled out

Have you found yourself in a pleasant conversation with someone and one of their friends or colleagues approaches?  Was it a cohesive conversation that incorporated the new person or did someone get “shuffled out??    Hopefully, these scenarios will better explain the term.

Scene 1:

Liza and SusieQ are talking.  You walk up to the in-progress chat because you want to say hi to your friend, SusieQ   Now, as you stand there patiently waiting for Liza to STFU, she doesn’t.  She doesn’t even pause for a breath.  Liza just rambles on without acknowledging you.  Do you feel uncomfortable and want to excuse yourself even though you haven’t even been recognized.  Congratulations!  You are “shuffled out.”

Scene 2:

SusieQ and I are talking.  Liza walks up, smiles, and WAITS for us to finish our sentence quickly.  I hesitate, allowing SusieQ to introduce Liza to me.  I now have the opportunity to bring Liza into the conversation by presenting some backstory OR starting a new line of dialogue that would include ALL 3 of you.

What more likely happens is Liza interrupts the flow, SusieQ does not make an introduction, and then Liza and  SusieQ enter into some dialogue that is unfamiliar (Shoptalk) to me.  Hence, I am “shuffled out.”

It is polite to recognize others as they approach your group.  Making people feel welcomed and at ease is all part of being a good conversationalist.  If you can’t remember or don’t know if people know each other don’t be afraid to ask, “Hey, have you two been introduced.”  Don’t just assume everyone knows each other especially if you are the host.   Most of all, be inviting and inclusive with the conversation when others approach your group.

 Being a One Upper

Have you ever had a chat with someone that has to one-up you every time?  It doesn’t matter what the circumstance is or what the scenario is; that person has a more extreme account of their experience.

Wait! What?  You are that person, and you didn’t’ even realize it?  Maybe it is just time to let other people have their glory day.  It’s ok.  You can support your high achieving friends without feeling like you have compete with them.  Let them brag, congratulate them even.

Now that you are aware of how to kill a conversation seven easy ways, begin to notice your dialogue.  Allow yourself to be more attentive, inclusive, and engaging in your conversations. Practice your new techniques and give these tips a try.  Be sure to let us know how they helped.

Until next time…Be Mindful, Inspire conversation, and Encourage each other!  Be sure to visit us on Facebook!

Keep talking

Maureen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun, Insightful Journaling Prompts

Fun, Insightful Journaling Prompts

 

 

 

 

Fun, Insightful Journaling Prompts

 

 

Would you like to journal but find it a little overwhelming?  This fun, insightful list of journaling prompts will surely add to your writing routine.

Take one each day and explore your answers.  There is no rule to journaling, no right or wrong questions to ask yourself.  Sometimes we just get stuck and need a little nudge.

For this reason, we have compiled an impressive list of fun and insightful journaling prompts that may be helpful in your new practice.  Download now and keep a copy in your journal for daily reference.

These are just a sample.

  • What are the ten words that describe me?
  •  Make a list of 10 people I am grateful to have in my life?
  •  What did I learn this week?
  •  What would I like others to know about me?

Congratulations and best of luck with your newly found passion.  We look forward to seeing you in The Conversation Community.

As Always,

Be Mindful, Inspire Conversation and Encourage Each Other

The Conversation Community

 

 

Journaling?  Seriously?  Yes, I Do, and These Are Some Benefits.

Journaling? Seriously? Yes, I Do, and These Are Some Benefits.

Journaling?  Seriously?  Yes, I Do And These Are Some Benefits. 

I wonder, do you and I have this in common: an obsession with office supplies?  More particularly – leafing through stacks of blank journals and never buying them?  If you do, then this article is for you!   Indulge me, will you for just a few minutes, and let’s talk Journaling? Seriously, Yes I do and these are some benefits.

My weird obsession with office supplies

Do you know that office supply stores, stationery stores, and even certain aisles at the big box stores are good for your soul?  Merchandise like paperclips, matching file folders, markers, and calendars fill the shelves.  These products come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.  Office supplies are useful, they don’t give us blisters and are never too tight.  Buying office supplies gives us a feeling of power and triumph, as they help us to feel in control of our desks, offices, and ultimately our lives.  There are many lovely products to choose from as we go from aisle to aisle.  However, the item that fascinates me every time I pass it, is the journal.

These mysterious books come in all types of configurations.  Some are tiny, even pocket-sized.  There are sleek moleskin journals without lines, and there are fancy ones that come with sticker packs.   Journals can have writing prompts (which will help you if you are stuck on what to write) or a thought for the day.  These little blank treasures come in just about every shape, size, color, and thickness to fit every writer’s need.  If the selection isn’t good at a particular store, you can quickly go to another one.  There is no shortage of journals.

I imagine…

You probably wonder, how do I know so much about these secret keepers.  Simply stated, I am obsessed with them.   Seriously, each time I wander into an office supply store or bookstore, my feet take me right to the journal section.  It is like a weird radar.  I pick one up, leaf through it, and examine the pages for my writing preferences.  Standing in the store, I imagine myself deep in the pages writing my most sacred thoughts.

Funny, there was a time that I wouldn’t buy a journal.   Maybe pride, embarrassment, or guilt made me put these little treasures back on the shelf.  Yet, each time I left the store without a journal, I felt a little incomplete.

Finally, in 2014, the day came.  I broke down and bought a journal.  Still today, I consider my first journal one of my most important purchases.  Hopefully, you will read on and discover a few benefits I experience through journaling and how it might benefit you too!

Journaling is an excellent way to create a beneficial habit. 

We can all agree there are habits that are beneficial to us and those that are not.  Incorporating more useful habits into our lives helps us to be more vibrant.  Time and time again, highly effective people discuss their daily practices and how important journaling is to their routine.

So how does journaling reinforce a healthy habit?  Easy.  Committing to writing in your journal each day takes little to no effort. Wake up, write for five minutes, and boom task complete!  Instant gratification on a job well done.  No need to sweat, or wake up an hour early, or even put on pants.  All you do is grab your pen, your journal, and write a few thoughts down.

There is no right or wrong way to journal.  You just pick up your book and write for 2 or 3 minutes. The key is you must start somewhere.  This practice is about creating a new useful, healthy, beneficial routine.   Healthy habits begin with intentional practice, and repetition reinforces those patterns.

Just start!

If you are having trouble starting, just put your pen to the paper and begin composing.  To be quite honest, sometimes I have no idea what to write.  Thinking that we need some great revelation or some mind-blowing trauma to record is a lie.  A desire to compose is all we need and then take action and jot your thoughts down on paper.

There are days that I draw a blank.  That doesn’t stop me from journaling.   Sometimes, I write entries like “I got nothing today”…or ‘BLAHHHHH”.  Why? Because I am building and reinforcing my desired habit of journaling.

Journaling is a great way to gain clarity.

If you are like most people, you may, from time to time, carry the burden of a head full of thoughts.  What should I do, when should I do it, and why in the world did I do that?  “What if,” ” oh no,” and  “I can’t believe this happened,” are all part of the constant nonsense going on in our heads.

Do you like it?  No, I didn’t think so, and neither do I.  So, silence those pesky voices from screaming in your head.  Write something down, even if it’s not in complete sentences.  Just write your thoughts or whatever pops into your head.  Clearing your mind of the jumble through journaling is practical and easy.

Think of it like you would your shopping list.  Why do you scribble a list before you go into the store?   Jotting your list on paper gets information out of your head, leaving more room for more critical thoughts.  When you take a minute to download your mind into your journal, you clear your mind and hopefully lessen the load you carry.

Journaling can help you make essential decisions.

Making contrasting lists helps me organize my mind clutter, especially when faced with an important decision.  On one side of the paper, write your do’s or likes and, on the other side, write your don’ts and dislikes.  Listing potential outcomes, reasons, or even costs allows me to evaluate my current situation more logically.  Examining the compiled data, I find it much easier to define my objectives.  In other words, I can evaluate my thoughts more clearly.

Over these last few years, I acknowledge that responding to data and logic is more productive than reacting emotionally or even irrationally.  Downloading my thoughts into my journal is my way of sorting out the noise and formulating a much better decision.

Journaling is a sure way to express gratitude.

2014 was an incredibly dark time for me.  Our family had significant turmoil, and through that, I began my journey to find myself.  Journaling and reading are two of the habits I adopted.  It was during that time that I started reading books by Dr. Joseph Murphy, Ekhart Tolle, Don Miguel Ruiz, and Abraham Hicks.

These authors all have a similar message.  Practice gratitude, stay present, and joy will be your portion.  They all agree that the more you find you are thankful, the more you will have to be grateful.  The more you find joy in your life, the more pleasure you will experience.

The search began

So, with those thoughts, I began to investigate this for myself.  Somehow, the book, The Magic by Rhonda Byrne came across my radar.  I was familiar with her teaching as I had seen her documentary, The Secret, a few months prior.  In the book, Byrnes encourages the reader to engage in some practices at the end of each chapter.  One of these tasks is to write 20 statements of gratitude every day for a month.  So, for the next 30 days, I did.

Honestly, it was a tough exercise.  My outlook on life was bleak, and I felt miserable, even depressed.  Our home life was falling apart.   Most days, I could hardly get out of bed and walk down the hall to our office.

I did the assignments anyway.  My lists included things like being thankful for having an infinite supply of promotional ink pens to appreciating the morning sun coming through our eastern-facing office windows.  Eventually, around the second week of this painful lesson, expressing gratitude became easier.  Every day, I had at least 20 different items on my list.   I realized that expressing gratitude becomes contagious, and my reasons multiplied. The point is that we all have so many reasons to be grateful.

Practicing gratitude is one super-easy way to journal.  I challenge you to start with this and see how your gratitude increases.  Just commit to writing three statements of appreciation for a month.  Let me know how you feel at the end of the month.

Journaling helps to unlock creative thoughts. 

A few months ago, I ran across an article by James Altucher.   In this post, Altucher talks about exercising our creative brain muscles.  He equates our mind muscles with our physical muscles in that the more we use them, the stronger the muscles develop.  In the same way that we attack sudoku and crossword puzzles, to strengthen our minds, we can also make our creative minds stronger and unlock creative thoughts.

Altucher challenges himself to write ten answers to a particular subject or question each day.  Some of the topics he uses are; What are ten new ways I can make money this week, and What is the title of 10 Books I could write?  Although he doesn’t necessarily act upon his lists; instead, he uses this exercise to help keep his creative mind sharp.   These prompts are a super fun way to get your imagination rolling.  Try a couple of Altucher’s prompts or come up with a list of your own as a way to get your creative mind-muscle moving and strengthening!

Journaling gives me a five or 10-minute break from the world. 

Seriously, taking a five or ten-minute break from the world is the most beneficial reason I journal.  Just a few minutes away from the noise of the world and concentrating on myself is my saving grace.  My journal holds my secrets, my failures, my wins, and my dreams.

Getting to know me and trusting myself through these practices is liberating.  Journaling, by far, allows me a safe space to be creative, honest, and unrestricted.  My daily journaling routine helps me to be more in tune with myself and the world around me.   I genuinely believe that as you embark on this journey into journaling, you too will experience the benefits as well.

The next time you are at the office supply store, allow yourself to buy a journal.  Try writing for a few weeks and start clearing your mind.  You have some beautiful thoughts, dreams, and visions.  Write them out and record them.  You have a story to tell!

Just give it a try out for 5 days or so.   See if you notice any new thoughts.

I’m looking forward to hearing you say “Journaling?  Seriously?  Yes, I do And These Are Some Benefits.”

Motivational great Tony Robbins says, “If your life’s worth living, it’s worth recording.”  So get started today!

As always, if you haven’t already, join us in our private Facebook group, The Conversation Community, and follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.

These are some fun, insightful journaling prompts for you!

Be sure to share your questions or comments, and let us hear from you!

Thanks for reading and as always:

Be Mindful, Inspire Conversation and Encourage Each Other,

Maureen