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Mastering The Art Of Conversation: 7 Steps To Being Smooth

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Whatever the context, old friends or new, it is best if speakers respect five principles:

  1. Put others at ease
  2. Put yourself at ease
  3. Weave in all parties
  4. Establish shared interests
  5. Actively pursue your own

(via The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure)

An effective introduction is small-ad brief, splicing in only two ingredients per person:

A (who they are) + B (why they are relevant)

The salient information is not so much formal title (royals, snobs, and servicemen excepted) as how you relate to one another or the event (housemate, client, mother-in-law, single male drafted in for ladies like you). 

Identify points of contact, charge people up, and you have a connection.

Discussion should enlarge by exploratory increments. Pace matters. 

Too neutral, too long, and you’ll both transmit beige personalities, but accelerate to war’s evils right away and her son will be a brigadier. Instead, use discreet hints to flush the other person out.

If in doubt, the stair to intimacy has four steps:

  1. Courtesies (“Hello, how are you?”)
  2. Trade information (“So what brought you here?”)
  3. Trade opinion (“Isn’t this music unusual?”)
  4. Trade feeling (“Yup, I hate it.”)

Empathic coding system: The higher the number, the better.

6: Shared feeling/experience

5: Confirmation of an emotion’s legitimacy

4: Pursuit of the topic

3: Acknowledgment

2: Implicit recognition (but changing the topic)

1: Perfunctory recognition (autopilot)

0: Denial/contradiction

  • Hear what people are really saying as opposed to what they are telling you.
  • Directness is a privilege of intimacy.

Read more:

"Directness is a privilege of intimacy." ...or a consequence of personality and Turrets...

A consequence of personality, with or without Turrets.

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