Tag Archives: Conversation

Give Softer Criticism With the “What I Like…” Feedback Model

Give Softer Criticism With the "What I Like..." Feedback Model

Giving criticism isn’t easy, especially if the person you’re giving it to is sensitive. This approach lets you keep criticism in a positive light so your feedback comes across as constructive, not harsh.

You’ve probably heard of giving someone a “compliment sandwich” before, where you open with something positive, deliver your critical feedback, and then finish with something positive. It can work great sometimes, but if you’re dealing with someone who is extra sensitive, Caroline Webb, the author of How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life, suggests it’s better to work your way around the things that might trigger someone’s defenses. Webb recommends the “What I Like…” feedback model for those situations:

  1. Tell the other person: “What I like about this is . . .” Give meaningful, specific examples of what you like, and explain why you like them. Aim for as many concrete positive points as you can. Don’t rush.
  2. Then say: “What would make me like it even more is . . .”

You’re not just telling them “It’s great!” You’re explaining what specifically is great and why. Doing so will make the positive points stick out more in their mind so when you follow up with “What would make me like it even more is…” they don’t just raise their shields. This also makes your critique come across as an idea that they can use as a prompt for making their work better. You’re not saying that you don’t like something directly (even if that is the case), you’re making your point with finesse to avoid destroying their self-confidence.

http://lifehacker.com/5915687/how-to…

Why Criticism Is So Tough To Swallow (And How To Make It Go Down Easier) | Fast Company

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Improve Your Conversation Skills With the Right Balance of Questions and Statements

Improve Your Conversation Skills With the Right Balance of Questions and Statements

Asking questions is a great way to start an engaging conversation. Ask too many questions, however, and your conversation starts to feel more like an interrogation. To avoid this, author Ramit Sethi suggests the “question, question, statement” method.

http://lifehacker.com/be-more-likabl…

It’s pretty much what it sounds like: for every couple of questions you ask in a conversation, follow up with a statement to show you’re actually engaged in the conversation, too. Here’s how Sethi puts it:

You’re not adding any value to the conversation if you’re just asking questions. A good rule of thumb is to ask two to three questions and then make a statement.

Bad example:

“Where are you from? How long have you been there? Oh, do you like it? What brought you here?”

Good example:

“Where are you from?” “I’m from Michigan.” “Oh, I’ve been to Michigan before. I actually grew up in Phoenix, but I live in Chicago now, pretty close by.” “Oh, really? So how long have you been there?”

Instead of acting like an interrogator, you’ve engaged this other person. You very subtly made a connection.

This may seem like common sense to some, but charismatic conversation doesn’t come easy for all of us. If you get nervous, this is a great rule to keep in mind. For more tips, head to Sethi’s full post below.

7 proven conversation questions (and why they work) | I Will Teach You to Be Rich

Become a Better Conversationalist by Ditching the Details

Become a Better Conversationalist by Ditching the Details

Good conversation has a natural back and forth like a game of tennis. That pleasant flow comes to a grinding halt, however, when you stop to try and clear up all of the unnecessary details.

If you’re looking for a simple way to refine your gift of gab, Celeste Headlee, host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s On Second Thought, suggests you always ditch the details and keep things moving. The last thing you want to do is derail the topic of conversation by trying to pinpoint small bits of information like names, dates, and other tiny details that don’t play an important role in your story or discussion. Headlee explains that the listener cares more about you and what you’re like—not the actual events or things you’re describing. They’re looking for what they have in common with you so they can relate. If you forget the details, leave them out and keep on talking.

http://lifehacker.com/10-simple-rule…

Six Habits of the Best Conversationalists | Fast Company

Photo by U.S. Embassy Vienna.

Practice Your Speech As a Conversation to Give Better Presentations

Practice Your Speech As a Conversation to Give Better Presentations

Think back to the last time you heard someone give a speech by reading words directly off a card. How bored were you? If you want to avoid having the same effect on your own audience, practice your speech by having a conversation with someone about it.

As advice site Mental Floss suggests, audiences respond well to speeches given in a conversational tone. When you’re practicing, ask a friend to sit with you and talk about the topic. You can present the same information, but allow your friend to ask questions, or give you feedback. Not only can this help you improve your presentation, but you can get a feel for how to talk about it without a huge audience:

As tempting as it may be to type up a speech and read it word for word, refrain from doing so. Audiences listen better when the speaker talks to them instead of reads to them… In other words, if you change your natural speech patterns to give a speech that’s written like an essay you’re setting yourself up to fail.

When you’re giving the speech to an audience, they probably won’t be asking questions directly. Knowing what questions your friend asked, however, can give you insight into how they’re thinking. More importantly, if you’re delivering your speech as though you were explaining it to a friend, your audience is more likely to respond in a friendly way.

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Public Speaker | Mental Floss

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10 Simple Rules for Becoming a Better Conversationalist

With the right approach, anyone has the ability to turn small talk into an engrossing conversation. These 10 essential rules will help.

In this talk from the TED YouTube channel, radio host Celeste Headlee shares the essential keys to becoming a good conversationalist. Headlee explains, for example, that you don’t have to show you’re paying attention (by nodding your head and smiling) if you actually focus on paying attention. You’ll also learn that you should never pontificate, and always assume you have something to learn from everyone. Here are few other key takeaways:

  • Ask better questions by acting like a journalist. What do they think? How do they feel about that? What else can you tell me about that?
  • If you don’t know something, say you don’t know. You’ll avoid looking like a fool and you’ll have something to talk about.
  • Never equate your experience with theirs. You may have gone through similar experiences, but nobody’s experience is ever the same.

And, the most important lesson of them all, make sure you’re listening to them and not just hearing them. The whole talk is well worth a watch, so be sure you check it out above or at the link below.

http://lifehacker.com/listen-with-yo…

10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation | YouTube


Politely Exit an Unwanted Conversation by Giving a Specific Excuse

Politely Exit an Unwanted Conversation by Giving a Specific Excuse

Whether you’re at a work party, convention, or some other social event, knowing how to slip away from a dull conversation is an invaluable skill. The trick to giving a good excuse is all in the specifics.

Lynne Waymon, networking consultant and the co-author of Strategic Connections, suggests you avoid giving obvious, open-ended excuses when you want to back out. People can tell when you’re lying and that you don’t want to talk to them when you say things like “I’m going to grab another drink” or “I guess we should both go circulate.”

Instead, be specific and polite. For example, Philip C. Thomas, regional chairman of Vistage, an executive coaching organization, recommends you say something like “I want to move on because I promised myself I’m going to meet at least 10 new people tonight.” The more specific your excuse is, the less likely they’ll think you’re blowing them off. Then finish on a good note by showing your appreciation and thanking them for talking with you. You can find more tips for backing out of a conversation at the link below.

http://lifehacker.com/the-most-grace…

A Conversation Exit Plan | The Wall Street Journal

Photo by ING Nederland.

Ask “How Do You Do Your Work?” To Engage Someone In Conversation

Ask "How Do You Do Your Work?" To Engage Someone In Conversation

The dreaded question “What do you do?” can be a little uncomfortable, but what’s worse is it offers little for your conversation partner to respond to. Instead, ask how they work.

As business blog Inc. points out, many people enjoy explaining how they do their work. If you ask what they do, they may say “I’m a graphic designer,” which is a single sentence reply. Ask them to explain what doing that work is like, however, and they’ll give you a detailed look into the life of a digital artist. The latter can make for much more fascinating conversation:

We all know to ask new connections about their work, but the form these questions take usually focuses on the what of a person’s career — What’s your job? or What do you do? While failing to engage model Bar Raefeli in conversation during a 2009 interview, [Esquire editor Ross McCammon] came up with a better alternative. Don’t ask what someone does. Instead ask how they do what they do.

“People love talking about what they actually do for a living. Not their jobs but their work,” he explains in the Science of Us post. “There’s so much technical stuff—even if you don’t have a technical job, there are so many little technical things that even your partner or spouse might not know about, just these little triumphs or bursts of creativity, or failures, mistakes, that go into a single workday. And I’m kind of obsessed with those small things, those little mistakes.”

This strategy can apply to more than just work. Asking someone what their hobbies are will generally be less interesting than asking about the details of how it works. Hearing that someone paints isn’t as engaging as hearing how one goes about learning to paint, or what techniques they use. Regardless of the topic, if you treat someone’s work or hobbies as though they’re interesting, you’re more likely to find that they really are.

1 Question That Can Save Any Conversation | Inc.

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski.

Become a Better Conversationalist by Seeking Solitude

Become a Better Conversationalist by Seeking Solitude

As strange as it may sound, you’ll have better conversation with others if you give yourself more time to reflect on your own thoughts.

All conversations start with a thought, but it’s hard to spark one if you haven’t had any time to really think. That’s why MIT Professor Sherry Turkle, the author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, suggests that solitude is necessary for having good conversation later on:

…alone we prepare to talk together… together we learn how to engage in a more productive solitude… Afraid of being alone, we struggle to pay attention to ourselves. And what suffers is our ability to pay attention to each other. If we can’t find our own center, we lose confidence in what we have to offer others. Or you can work the circle the other way. We struggle to pay attention to each other, and what suffers is our ability to know ourselves.

This might seem a little counterproductive, but many great minds harp on the benefits of spending time alone. Being alone gives you the best opportunity to see who you really are, and lets you find your “center.” Once you know yourself, you’ll feel more comfortable sharing opinions and stories with others; and that makes conversation a breeze.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-be-alon…

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age | Amazon via The Art of Manliness

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Turn Small Talk Into Good Conversation by Asking About Their Passions

Turn Small Talk Into Good Conversation by Asking About Their Passions

Small talk is boring and will never create any sort of bond between you and someone else. You’ve probably heard that asking questions is a good approach, but the kind of questions you ask can really liven things up.

Questions can be equally as mundane as small talk if you’re not careful. A yes-or-no question doesn’t engage anyone or allow any real expression. Instead, Julian Reisinger, the founder of Love Life Solved, suggests you ask about their passions. Reisinger provides an example:

When a friend of yours tells you (or a group) that she went horseback riding and had an amazing time, don’t ask “Where did you go?”, rather ask “I have never done horseback riding. What makes it so exciting?” I guarantee you that any person who is passionate about the topic will not only teach you a ton – in an interesting way – but will also like you more and feel closer to you afterwards.

Go beyond the person, place, or thing and find out why they do what they do. If you don’t know what they’re passionate about, ask them. People love to talk about their passions, and if you can get to know what they care about, you’ll get to know them as a person.

http://lifehacker.com/5913355/how-ca…

Julian Reisinger’s Answer to “How can I start an interesting conversation?” | Quora via Inc.

Photo by Nicholas Shipes.

Turn Small Talk Into Good Conversation by Asking About Their Passions

Turn Small Talk Into Good Conversation by Asking About Their Passions

Small talk is boring and will never create any sort of bond between you and someone else. You’ve probably heard that asking questions is a good approach, but the kind of questions you ask can really liven things up.

Questions can be equally as mundane as small talk if you’re not careful. A yes-or-no question doesn’t engage anyone or allow any real expression. Instead, Julian Reisinger, the founder of Love Life Solved, suggests you ask about their passions. Reisinger provides an example:

When a friend of yours tells you (or a group) that she went horseback riding and had an amazing time, don’t ask “Where did you go?”, rather ask “I have never done horseback riding. What makes it so exciting?” I guarantee you that any person who is passionate about the topic will not only teach you a ton – in an interesting way – but will also like you more and feel closer to you afterwards.

Go beyond the person, place, or thing and find out why they do what they do. If you don’t know what they’re passionate about, ask them. People love to talk about their passions, and if you can get to know what they care about, you’ll get to know them as a person.

http://lifehacker.com/5913355/how-ca…

Julian Reisinger’s Answer to “How can I start an interesting conversation?” | Quora via Inc.

Photo by Nicholas Shipes.