Art of Good Conversation

I have been reading a few professional development books. One book by Daniel H. Pink, titled “To Sell is Human” discusses how we are all in sales. Regardless of our position and career choice, we all sell to others. If you’re in a professional industry such as the medical field, doctors need to sell patients on the importance of taking medicine, exercising etc. Other careers sell people on their services and then, of course, there are the traditional sales of goods and products.

Daniel Pink explains that the most effective salespeople are people who fall in the middle of being extroverts and introverts. Click the link for a quick assessment to find out where you are in the spectrum.

Ultimately the best tool that we all have for networking and helping your business grow is developing the art of good conversation. This comes from learning to be comfortable with talking to new people. And yes, this skill is learned by everyone. The most successful conversationalist finds something in common with every person they talk too.

Starting a conversation is the toughest part. I have learned over the years, not only in the Chamber world but also when I served as president of a woman’s organization that we always can find something in common with another person.

  • Don’t multitask
    • Give complete attention at the start of and through the entire conversation.
    • This means put your phone away and make and keep eye contact.
  • Embrace Small Talk – go with the flow.
    • I have found that small talk is how we find the commonalities which will lead to a deeper conversation.
    • Stay away from the standard “what do you do?” or “Where are you from?” opening questions. Instead, lead with “What passion projects are you working on?” or “What gets you up in the morning?”
    • Do not stop listening.
  • Ask questions
    • Use open-ended questions.
    • Ask more questions.
  • Be Nice
    • This seems obvious but doesn’t neglect it.
    • SMILE: Walk into a conversation with a smile
    • Open body language
    • Handshake – be sure to use a firm handshake.
    • Let the other person do the talking
  • Listen!
    • Great conversationalists listen more than they talk.
    • Stephen Covey said: Listen with the intent to understand, do not listen with the intent to reply.
    • Be prepared to be amazed!

By: Cheryl Viola, Executive Director