Because it’s that time of year when we’re getting together for holiday celebrations or work-related parties, I thought about our conversations – the ones we have and the ones we wish we had.

We’re always conversing – small talk or deeper communication – whether hanging out at the ball game, having dinner with family or friends, discussing business with colleagues, or sweating through a job interview (yes, an interview is a conversation). Sometimes, depending on your expectations, the conversations are rewarding, sometimes they are disappointing, and sometimes the conversation doesn’t happen even when you had planned for it.  

Improve Your Communication Skills, a very informative book by Alan Barker, offers important insights and guidelines about conversation and 1st person PR. As I mentioned in my first blog post, the goal of communication is to establish common ground. Or, as Barker explains, “communication is the process of creating shared understanding.” The heart of communication, he notes, is the conversation, which helps us build relationships with other people.

Barker discusses talking v. listening, determining and respecting each other’s perspectives, and establishing a relationship even when we don’t agree on everything. His “ways to improve your conversation” are on-target approaches that lead to chapters on persuasion, interviewing, writing and presentations.

In learning more about effective conversation, we do, of course, learn more about ourselves and our potential.

Relishing (or nervous about) the holiday season? Facing economic challenges? Wondering about some of your personal or professional relationships? Wouldn’t  meaningful communication – a real conversation – with someone you know or would like to know better help?

If so, a rewarding conversation could be a great holiday gift or a New Year’s resolution.

Let’s communicate.

Sally Chapralis

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