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Are You a Good Conversationalist?
(Хороший ли Вы собеседник?)

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drained - осушенный; высохший
set out - намереваться (что-л. делать)
take over - вступать во владение (вместо другого лица); захватить власть
transcend - переступать пределы
give and take – чередующийся
cue - знак, сигнал; намёк
open-ended - When people begin an open-ended discussion or activity, they do not start with any intention of achieving a particular decision or result. ( questions about what passengers expect of an airline.)

Having a great conversation can energize your spirit and help you gather a perspective that makes the time spent well worth it. On the other hand, you know the exact moment when you are in the middle of a bad conversation when you likely feel drained and wondering why you met with them in first place.

It’s not that people set out to be bad conversationalists; it happens after a while with habits that become second nature. At times, you’re not sure if the person actually knows they are having an unpleasant conversation.

A supervisor once told me about their disappointment with a meeting in observing two employees who were assigned to work on a project. Both were excited about the opportunity. However, as time went on it was obvious that one was dominating the discussion. Instead of having a dialogue with inspiration, it turned out to be a monologue creating an awkward situation that ended badly.

They attributed the lack of communication skills to a difference in age, and, to their surprise, the older employee was the one who was taking over the conversation. In their view, the more experienced employee should have known how to carry on a discussion by taking the lead in exchanging information instead of doing all the talking.

Truth is having a good conversation transcends age and is not a predictor of who should know better rather it’s an art that takes practice to cultivate skills. When you think of a good conversationalist, think of someone who served as a mentor to you, what was it about their style of communication that influenced you? Most likely you felt as though they cared about you by sharing in a give and take conversation. Great leaders are great conversationalists.

If you want to go far in your career, learn how to be a good conversationalist. It’s not about age or experience but rather awareness in balancing who talks and who listens.

Anyone can start becoming a better conversationalist with just a few changes.

Be genuine with what you convey to the other person. A good conversation is not a debate to win a point it’s more about an exchange involving all of your senses such as non-verbal language, eye contact and sending cues that you are interested in the other person.

Share the conversation, aim for a 50-50 balance combination of talking and listening.

Be focused when talking and listening. Rarely can a person convey their interest in you when looking around the room to check out who is present.

Questions fuel good conversations use open-ended ones to help the other person talk. Make comments and add feedback, your input is just as important.

Use the “WAIT” technique an acronym for “Why Am I Talking?” This is a good reminder to help you internally monitor your actions when communicating with another person. If you can’t come up with a good reason as to why you are talking, it might be a sign that you are dominating the conversation.


Read and answer the following questions:

1. What are your thoughts about being a good conversationalist?
2. What makes some people better at it than others?
3. Are you a good listener?


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