Home Self Improvement Control Every Conversation
US FTC Compliance
Yes, all these ads are some kind of affiliate link and I get paid a commission if you click or buy.
Not enough to quit my day job, but it keeps the site alive.
- Jeb Riordan, Editor, PROJECTmagazine
Control Every Conversation Print
Making the most of any conversation presupposes that you already know how to express yourself well. Even so unless you are equally as skilled when it comes to taking charge of the dialogue that passes between you and another person, you can easily be left out and find yourself just observing and wondering what to do to get back into the conversation. This is especially true when you find yourself in a group situation.

Have you ever felt tongue tied as a group slowly forgot you were even present?
Have you ever had a conversation with a salesperson and felt exhausted afterwards?
In both cases it is likely that you were not at all in control of the conversation.
In the example of the group, you did not know how to get back into the conversation; while with the salesperson, you were jumping through hoops as she directed a focused line of questioning giving you little opportunity to take back control.

There is a better way. We can rebuild you! Let´s look at three highly effective ways to take back control.

Three points of leverage for controlling conversations:

1 Ask Questions:

Whoever is asking the questions is in control of the conversation. Even when the other person has power by virtue of their position you can still exert control by asking questions.

You could ask for clarification on key points, you might ask him to repeat an important issue or you could suggest that he explain himself in a different way so that you can better understand what he wants from you.

In this way you can exert your influence and ensure that you are not steamrolled into accepting something before you have a moment to think it through. Asking questions also gives you more time to decide how to respond.

2 Listen Effectively:

In the context of controlling a conversation, it is worth remembering that everyone has an ego and all of us are convinced that our opinions are correct and that they are worth hearing. Who does not love the opportunity to share their wisdom with someone who really wants to hear it?

The better you become as a listener the more easily you will command power in a conversation. It is a sad and unfortunate reality that husbands do not really listen to their wives; friends do not always pay full attention to each other; and, coworkers are in all honesty more interested in solving their own problems than giving you complete attention when you are talking to them.

This represents a huge opportunity for all of us. If you commit to becoming a great listener you will never have any difficulty making new friends, people will like you because you really give them your full attention. This demonstrates that you respect them and they in turn are more likely to respect you.

Make a point of giving each person your complete attention when they are talking. The other person will feel valued and significant and more open to letting you share your views and wants.

3 Give First:

In a conversation, give first without wanting or expecting anything in return. Giving could mean, giving information, advice or offering to help fix a problem.

By giving, you will feel better about yourself; and by acting with generosity you will feel more positive, caring and genuinely interested in the welfare of the other person. And when you feel good about yourself and others, people just cannot help picking up on those warm, loving feelings.

It is then relatively easy to have a meaningful conversation where everyone shares and you can ensure that you get to say what needs to be said.

In a work context, you may choose to give only in return for another favor, it depends on your assessment of who you are dealing with. Where possible though do give small favors just because it feels good and creates a great working atmosphere.

At a meeting at some later date you will be amazed at the goodwill you have generated when people want to hear what you have to say. It will only be then that you realize the power you have to influence with just words and an attentive audience.

To sum up, asking questions puts you in control, being a great listener earns you bonus points for when you speak, and giving first allows you to create a friendly atmosphere grounded in rapport.

Now it is over to you. Test it, play with it, use it!

2002 © Peter Murphy

About the Author:

Peter Murphy is a freelance business writer.
He publishes a free weekly ezine full of practical tips for communicating at your best under pressure.
All new subscribers receive a free e-book with powerful strategies for being at your best.
To subscribe send a
blank This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by James, October 12, 2009
Great Article

Write comment
bold italicize underline strike url image quote Smile Wink Laugh Grin Angry Sad Shocked Cool Tongue Kiss Cry
smaller | bigger

Copyright © PROJECTmagazine (c) 1998 - 2019 for practical project management information. All rights reserved.