By Odile Faludi
If you are single and looking for love why not choose the language of quality conversation. No I don’t mean texting, emailing or Facebooking. I actually mean picking up the phone and starting a conversation with someone you would like to get to know better. Yes you heard me right, being bold and brave. Let’s face it, you carry your phone with you 24/7; what return are you getting on your investment? Are you speaking to as many people as possible to heighten your chance of finding the one?
When a relationship is new and has just begun, there is no better way to set that relationship on fire than by having a great conversation over the phone. Whilst texting, emailing and other forms of communication are convenient they are impersonal and often messages can be misconstrued. Why not just use social media or email as a means to set an appointment to call.
The truth is in this judgmental world having the opportunity to impress without the pressure of looking good is a refreshing change. Can you imagine being in your PJ’s and knocking the socks of your potential date with your charm and good wit. It means, like the successful Australian reality television singing competition show The Voice, no-one is prejudiced by appearances. Your voice is your best friend and mirrors your personality. It is the raw essence of who you are that causes sparks to fly, an explosion of laughter and two minds to connect.
Okay so potential love interests may have checked out your photo already on social media before this first conversation; but let’s face it how many people have the same photo they had ten years ago. Photos can be deceiving.
Create a connection mentally before your first meeting. A quick or long catch-up on the phone can be a great icebreaker and serve as a tantalising appetiser to any date. It has been heavily documented that most people enjoy the sound of their own voice. So much so it has been reported it is the equivalent to eating chocolate or having sex. It arouses and excites. This is a fertile playground for feelings to ignite.
So what makes a great conversation and how do we achieve it?
Having a great conversation with a stranger, like everything in life, requires a little bit of effort. In business and in social situations, “research and relevance” is the key. Know something about who you are speaking with and what they would find interesting to talk about prior to starting the conversation. It will avoid awkwardness. Social media platforms like LinkedIn are very useful for some “inside” scoop on who you may be speaking with. Not only do you find out where they work, what they do, but everything from the university they attended to their favourite hobbies or interests. It opens up a new avenue for starting a conversation. You start from an informed position. Also get valuable advice from your j-junction matchmaker. That is why they are here to help you. Your aim is obviously not to behave like a stalker but someone who really is interested. Through an engaging conversation you can quickly get a sense of what is alive in the other person. It may be their work, family, hobby or a new venture. The important thing is that both parties are given the opportunity to speak. Conversation is like a ping pong match. It must be two ways so that both sides feel empowered and enriched by the experience. In our personal and business lives we are drawn to others based on common interests, chemistry, likeability, and other intangible qualities. This can all come across effortlessly in what we say.
The driving force in progressing new conversations is unfamiliarity. The need to want to know more about this new person. Being born curious is a wonderful attribute and by asking lots of questions shows you really care about the other person and what they think. Therefore when asking a question it’s important to ask then… shut up and listen. As Stephen Covey says, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
So how can you ensure that your first words won’t be your last? Odile suggests these hot tips in starting conversations:
1. Be generous with your time and wisdom, and help others without any expectation of receiving something in return.
2. Start a relationship by having a great conversation, not by trying to show the other person how smart you are. It’s really irritating when someone you’ve just spoken to keeps trying to show off how “intelligent” and insightful they are.
3. You connect with people by finding things in common, understanding what issues they maybe grappling with and sharing ideas.
4. Cultivate your interests so you are interesting to others.
5. Be authentic and be yourself.
6. Ensure you sprinkle words which display your honesty, discretion, reliability and consistency. These are very attractive traits especially in the early stages of building a relationship.
7. Don’t let everything that enters your eye gate or ear gate come out of your mouth gate. Most people can’t stand babblers!
8. Have a sense of fun.
9. The greatest compliment you can give someone is your time and friendly ear.
10. Keeping the love tank full has a lot to do with the way we speak to each other.
It’s important at the end of the conversation to say, “Thank you for calling.” Let the other person know if you enjoyed the experience. This builds confidence within the relationship and creates good feelings which will spur on further communication. If you forget to thank them you can always drop them a line via email, text or social media. Try to keep the communication flowing. Make each other feel good!
Solomon said, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” When starting a conversation smile and show you really care – the listener picks up on your good mood and being happy is an attractor in conversation. As the relationship progresses use often encouraging words. The word encourage means “to inspire.” Notice the changes in the emotional climate of your relationship once you start having more frequent conversations person-to-person and over the phone. Words are a powerful tool… use them to strengthen all your relationships and notice the difference.
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About Odile Faludi
Odile Faludi is a passionate freelance writer and a business development consultant. She is trained in “Crucial Conversations” through Vital smarts. Vital smarts has helped 300 of the Fortune 500 realise significant results using a proven method for driving rapid, sustainable, and measurable change in behaviours.