“Because you had to be a big shot, didn’t you, You had to open up your mouth, You had to be a big shot, didn’t you, All your friends were so knocked out” Billy Joel
Here are some guaranteed ways to get along with people or you get your money back!
These techniques will work only with people in a one on one situation though in general, they apply to all social engagements.
- Listen, and not only listen but listen attentively. It is very important that you remember what a person has told you. If you ask somebody a question over something they already said they might get irate. It doesn’t matter how absurd or bizarre what the person is saying is. For example, today I had a conversation with a person over reading the Bible. He told me that I should take the Bible and put it up on my forehead and God would communicate with you. I sat silently and listened. The man went on to explain how he had done this successfully many times and not only with the Bible with the Holy Koran. No matter how ludicrous something sounds pay attention.
- Secondly, allow the other person to choose the subject of the conversation. This will ensure the other person’s interest. For example today I started a conversation with an elderly gentleman over poetry. I had talked to this man on several other occasions. Well, the conversation drifted from poetry to the Vietnam War, to the Civil War. I believe that the man really wanted to talk about the Civil War as he knew a lot about it or had a passion for it. I learned about the battle of Gettysburg.
- Third, try to speak as little as possible but asking well thought out intelligent questions is a good thing. It is always bad to dominate the conversation and the general rule is to listen. But, asking questions shows interest on your part. Also, some people will make statements trying to trigger a question from you. For example, in my discussion over the Civil War, the man told me that General Lee was told by all of his generals that he should end the battle of Gettysburg after the second day but he didn’t. When I asked why he didn’t, the man explained it to me. I was being set up to ask that question but I asked to carry the conversation on.
- When you present your own points of view try to be specific as possible and be sure that your information is accurate. In the conversation, we were talking about the independence of third world countries. I mentioned that some Caribbean countries shared the same currency. In fact, to prove my point I pulled out a piece of Caribbean currency that I had in my wallet. I said that the lack of control of currency was a sign that the various islands were not fully independent. The person I was speaking to insisted that the real reason was that the countries weren’t being controlled but rather the islands were being helped by the printer of the currency. I found this notion absurd and ridiculous but I didn’t press my point.
- Pay attention and make the person you are talking to feel like that he is very important. This is one of the reasons that it is best to talk to a person in a one on one situation. When other people join in the conversation it is inevitable that somebody will not be able to express their thoughts. One of the participants in the conversations would want to express something but another person will talk. This will upset the person unable to express himself.
- Finally, the greatest danger in talking with more than one person at a time is that controversy which could have been avoided might be brought in. Gentleness, meekness, and humility are three characteristics that make a person a good listener. When somebody is directly challenged by another there is confrontation which with immature people would bring along hostility. Ill feelings are the exact opposite of what one desires from a conversation.
- Some people lack the confidence to speak to strangers. But we learn from our mistakes. When I was young I didn’t know how to socialize. As I grew older I got quite good at personal interaction. But it is a learned skill. I learned by observing others, and by practice. Knowing how to talk to a person is very important in the world, it is a key to success and a happy life. I know these techniques limit your personal expression. However, once you develop a relationship with a person you can then safely express your own viewpoints and ideas. The idea is to establish a relationship and then build on it.
Please check out my book “Without The Music.” It is a book of song lyrics great for reading and for musicians. https://amzn.to/2MQoyZu