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10 Most Common Mistakes in a Conversation

10 Most Common Mistakes in a Conversation

“No man is an island.”

Indeed, people are relationship-driven creatures. We are present in this world in order to relate to others and establish a solid community. It goes without saying that we need to communicate with each other in order to fulfill this purpose, though.

It is our responsibility to engage our colleagues in a nourishing and productive conversation. Through good communication, romantic relationships, business partnerships and even product selling have all been implemented. Good communication skills are the foundation of a long-lasting relationship. How can you develop them? You can start by omitting these ten most common mistakes in a conversation from your communication bank:

1. Do you speak quickly?

You’re in a brand new situation with a person you’ve just met, so it’s understandable that you became nervous. Since you didn’t have enough time to compose yourself, you blabbered and spoke too much and too fast. Because of this, the person you’re talking to wasn’t able to understand any word you’ve said.

Solution: Nervousness brings about the common mistakes in a conversation, so to combat this, just breathe deeply and smile. Assume that the person you’re talking to is interested in what you have to say. Put some pauses in your statements.

2. Do you ask too many questions?

The conversation sounds like a police interrogation with you asking too many questions and your partner scrambles to answer all of them. As a result, connection is made and no relationship is built.

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Solution: Follow this structure:

a. Ask a general question.

b. Consider his answer.

c. Give feedback about his answer and then answer the question you’ve asked.

d. Wait for him to respond. If he replies with a question, good. If he replies with a statement, repeat what he said and wait for him to elaborate.

3. Are your statements scripted?

You’re going to make a sale, so you memorized your company’s sales script, even though your conversation partner isn’t really reacting based on what you’ve memorized. Confusion arises.

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Solution: Focus on building trust first. You can never seal a deal if your prospect doesn’t really trust you.

4. Do you hog the spotlight?

You walk way too much: about yourself, your job, your dreams and frustrations. Pretty soon, the person you’re talking too feels like he just attended a whole-day seminar about you.

Solution: Ask for your partner’s opinion.

– “My favorite topic is about personal finance. How about you?”

5. Is your objective missing?

You discuss bland topics and end the conversation with no real outcome. Were you supposed to build trust? Preempt a sale? Invite a prospect? No-one knows!

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Solution: Adult communication isn’t superficial—it exists to fulfill a purpose. What type of purpose? Define this first before entering a conversation.

6. Do you have to be right all the time?

Every conversation seems like a battlefield to you. You have to make everyone agree with what you have to say, so you never back down. You’re always right, right?

Solution: Accept the fact that everyone is entitled to his own opinions. You don’t need to force them into agreeing with you—they’ll just choose to walk away from you instead. Arrogance causes some of these common mistakes in a conversation to happen. Stay humble.

7. Do you talk about awkward topics with a person you barely know?

“Hey, I just met you, but listen to me talk about my past relationships, my nagging digestive problems and my balding hair.”

Solution: Stay away from topics involving religion, sex, politics and negativity, especially when you’ve just become acquainted with someone. Focus on safe topics such as hobbies, common interests and the topic of the conference you’re in

8. Are you really listening?

You’re really just waiting for the other person to stop talking so that you can get your turn. Ha, you’re going to wow them with your speaking skills—who cares what they say?

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Solution: Put your pride on hold and really hear what your talking partner is telling you. Learn to read between the lines. Observe his body language. Avoid asking “yes or no” questions and probe deeper instead. You’re there to listen, not to merely hear.

9. Are you rude to the person you’re talking to?

You think you’re better than your talking partner so you don’t think about respecting their opinions. Sure, you use polite language and you mind your manners, but your words offend and your attitude challenges them.

Solution: How you communicate is better than what you communicate. Before you aim to communicate, aim to respect first.

10. Is your body language driving them away?

You would like to start communicating with people but no one seems to want to talk to you. Why? Your arms are crossed, you’re slouching and your eyebrows are furrowed—that’s why.

Solution: Relax.Communication is all about openness and community. Look at people in the eye. Smile more. Stand up straight. You got this.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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