Sunday, April 5, 2015
Hey, What's going on?
Q: Hey, What's going on? A: Not much, you? Q: The same. Some of us have had this short and conditioned conversation when meeting up with friends or acquaintances that we haven't seen in awhile. This seems to be the "default" mode of contemporary human interactions when entering social atmospheres in public. Some of us become overwhelmed and don't know what to say, so we resort to the token questions and answers that we thrust into forcing a conversation or getting on the same level as the other person. These are most certainly unconscious and thoughtless gestures that don't let us get past our loathsome habits and prohibit us from growing as socialites. Some of us may have different variations on the example above. Most of us start "small talk" and reach through our non extensive conversational vocabulary to pull out empty default conversation starters. Once we become conscious of our presence in the room and start to recognize our social habits, we can start to integrate creative and valuable conversations. Instead of asking base and general questions, we can launch ourselves and others into different frames of mind and make true fun out of conversations. Before you open your mouth and say an unconscious, programmed blabber bus, we must first feel out the energy and the body language of the target area. It is a good idea to start with good or long term friends that know you first so you can later use your practiced skills on new people you meet. Be open, willing and do not be daunting or aggressive. Think of every new conversation as an experiment and playground with some loose guidelines. Plant the seed of conversation and watch it grow. Here are a few ideas for conversation starters. 1. Start with something food based. Everyone loves food! Especially, good food! Q: Man, I had a great sandwich the other day and it brightened my day! This opens up the conversation with enthusiasm. When you use enthusiasm, you create and influence the atmosphere around you. People love that energy! Bring forth that joyous momentum. Once you make the statement, follow up with a question relating to the statement proposed. Q: Have you ( or you guys ) had a great sandwich or dish lately? Some of the people may ride your enthusiasm wave and really dive deep into what food they have had recently. This technique allows the person to really critically think about personal past experiences and bring them into the spotlight. You will soon find that there is plenty in common with you and the other people and the conversation may take some delicious and unexpected turns. It is important to realize that you do not want to start a conversation or interaction as an interview. You really want to pave the way yourself, but not make it immediately about you. Some people may freeze up if you ask them a direct question at first. You want to amend that conversational soil and make it just right so that the seeds planted can grow with great vigor! 2. Enter a conversation with your body first and try to be very gestural and animated. Be mindful of your movements and do not over exaggerate your movements. Start off by giving a firm handshake or good 3+ second hugs to good friends. Make it apparent that you excited to see them and enjoy having them around. Make sure you don't make things too uncomfortable with unwelcome body interactions. Once the physical non verbal atmosphere is set, the conversation can start with a sense of warmth and communion. 3. If you are entering a group that is already in mid conversation, the best thing for you to do is to really focus on listening. Listen to what the topic is at hand and if you have any interest in it. It is important to really read the body language of the group and gauge if it is more of an intimate closed conversation or an open invitation. People will usually adjust themselves by moving to accommodate you or moving in closer to signify its potential. Once again, listening is the most important part. The best time to enter the conversation is determined on what you can offer. Will your interaction add value or growth to the conversation at hand? It is important to be conscious of recognizing what other people have said. Show appreciation before you bring forth a personal comment. I appreciate your story! That's amazing! I am so glad you told me that! What a great story! Good Point! These are just a few examples of some statements you could see in showing your conscious involvement in the conversation. People love to hear that their voice is being heard. There are many avenues you can take the conversation if you dissect it and really see what has the most potential and fun! Keep good eye contact be conscious of your body cues signifying that you are indeed paying attention. You can shake your head or interject with one word phrases such as "true", "yea", " absolutely" or a chuckle or laugh depending on the context of the conversation. " Paying Attention " is the most important part of being the listener. You are investing your awareness and presence in the delight and uniqueness of the other human or humans. Dive deep! Ask questions and listen intently! Don't just wait to speak or give your opinion. When you listen with your whole being, the response will come on it's own with very little aggression or effort. Your reaction will be very appropriate or informed. 4. Break comfort zones! A big part of conversation play is the ability to be spontaneous and to catch people off guard to spur new and interesting conversations. It is not advised to come at it with anything too offensive, sexual or aggressive. You really want to think of some fun ideas that the whole conversation party can play with. Think of some thought experiments that could lead to some interesting responses and interactions. any of you had an embarrassing moment in public? What's the oddest thing you have tried? When's the last time you felt like kids? There are so many ideas and possibilities you can try to enlighten and inspire others with. When you bring something new and refreshing to conversation, you are creating great memories for people that they can cherish and share with future participants of conversation. You can create an atmosphere of love and acceptance that can spread to create joy in the now and the future. It is important to realize that what you can offer is extraordinary in perpetuating interesting life experiences. Go forth and plant seeds of truth, love and experimentation into the minds and hearts of other people! Be bold. Be confident and start every conversation with conviction and enthusiasm. Great conversation can truly change the world around us and improve the collective consciousness of the human species.