Why is it that some people can just walk into a room and strike up a conversation with a total stranger? What is it they do that makes it so easy? How can they be so engaging with a total stranger? To them, it’s not about talking. It’s about making contact with another person.
It’s about listening.
It’s about sharing.
It’s about caring.
It seems that when you have a talent, you don’t even know it. That’s how it is for people who have the ‘gift of gab’. They know how to engage you in conversation, encourage you to share and are wonderful listeners. They walk away with an awareness, understanding and insight that enrich them.
Everybody has a story and most people are willing to share it if they think someone really wants to hear it. What’s your story? When was the last time you heard someone’s story and walked away with a new appreciation for life?
For most of us, when we are in a conversation we realize we weren’t even listening. At the store you may run into a friend and get introduced to her sister. You say hello, chat for a bit and leave. What was this woman’s name? What was she wearing?
A good communicator is a person who listens with eye contact, awareness and interest. Have you ever talked to someone only to realize that person was looking across the room – perhaps waiting for someone better to talk to? It’s a creepy feeling and it’s obvious the person is not engaged and is not listening.
You can become a better communicator by doing these three things:
1. When meeting someone for the first time, ask them a specific question and then just let them talk. “What brings you here today?” is a good question. Keep your eyes and ears open to the spoken and unspoken reply. Watch for body language such as hand movements, facial expressions, posture, and other qualities that help to connect you to that person.
2. Repeat their name in the conversation as a way to remember it and to become more personable. If you don’t remember or didn’t hear the person’s name, ask. And when you ask someone to tell you their name, ALWAYS repeat your name to them. If another person joins the conversation, stick your hand out and introduce yourself again. This is a great way to remind others of your name and to get them to repeat their name.
3. We all want to be acknowledged, so it’s important to let the person know you are listening. You can ask a follow-up question,add a comment, make eye contact, smile and all those things that you appreciate in others. To really connect with another person, share something about yourself. When you offer something personal in a conversation, you help the other person to see your humanness. It’s the sweetest gift you can offer.
Making contact with another person is an art that anyone can master if you are willing to ask a question and then truly listen… because the gift of gab isn’t about talking at all!