[quote align=”center” color=”#4bac58″]It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. -Mark Twain[/quote]
If you know you will be getting int a conversation with someone, don’t go without a game plan. Give some thought to what is likely to transpire – what the other person may say, how you should respond.
Make your responses concise and purposeful. This brings me to my next point. Don’t ramble.
If there is a lull in the conversation, do not feel obliged to fill the silence by rambling.
Pause before you respond to a question or comment. It will buy you time to think, mentally regroup and most importantly to check yourself before you blurt out something you might regret.
If the other person feels awkward, it will also place you at an advantage to bargain your point. The less you reveal, the greater your chances of keeping the other person on their toes.
Check your tone
The tone and inflection of your voice can say a lot about your imtentions, level of comfort and confidence. A steady low pitched voice sounds much more authoritative and confident than a squeaky wavering one.
Imagine you are talking to an overweight friend who is trying to lose weight by dieting. Suppose you say to her “It must be so difficult for you to to follow a strict diet.” Imagine saying it sincerely, with eye contact, a sympathetic tone of voice and an encouraging smile. Now imagine rolling your eyes at her, using a sarcastic tone and taunting her. Even when your words remain the same, your body language, expressions – and especially your tone can convey completely different meanings and attitudes and impact.
Next time you talk to someone, record yourself and see what you sound like.
Enunciate your words and minimize any mumbling. Veteran actors and speakers often emphazise their vowels while speaking in order to make their speech more impactful.
Also, try to relax as much as possible so you can clearly communicate your message.
Avoid expletives – they just make you sound immature and uneducated.
Avoid using clichés. Come up with original phrases instead.
Try to expand your vocabulary and knowledge (e.g. by reading/listening to current events etc) so you can converse intelligently in any social situation.