How do you break the ice?
Is it just me or does ‘We need to talk‘ have the tendency to send shivers down your spine.
Yesterday was Mother’s day and I spent part of my day at Mum’s. It was nice to have some mum cooked meal, relax and go through my old stuff.
I took a nap and some minutes after I woke up, my mum said ‘Mum, we need to talk’. (fun fact: my mummy calls me mummy).
I sat up immediately with a million and one thoughts going through my mind.
Did something happen?
Did someone kick the bucket?
Not for once did I think it had to do with something positive. We ended up talking about future plans, my drivers licence…basically things that required planning but no bad news at all.
At the end of the conversation, I mentioned she had gotten me worried when she said ‘We need to talk’.
The ‘debater’ in me proceeded to explain that it would have been less worrisome if she had said ‘Can we talk’ or something less formal instead of ‘We need to talk’.
This encounter with my mum got me thinking further and my thoughts form the essence of this post.
5 THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN STARTING A CONVERSATION.
Now, I am revisiting mum’s statement and wondering if I was wrong for assuming the worst initially.
The beginning of a conversation prepares your mind for the kind of news you are about to hear.
Conversation starters determine if an encounter will be pleasant or otherwise. It is supposed to set off the right mood for a proper conversation and if it is done wrongly, you could get a negative response.
Here are 5 things we should look out for:
- Conversation starters should be as clear as possible.
Top on my list to avoid would be ‘we need to talk’.
It is important to watch out for conversation starters that can be misunderstood.
I have heard people say ‘I am responsible for my statement and you are responsible for what you make off it’.
In a relationship, it is typical that when your partner says ‘we need to talk’ you do a mental calculation of unfinished conversations or responsibilities. Some couples even get defensive immediately.
You probably know ‘We need to talk’ is clearly different from ‘Honey, we need to talk’.
It is only natural to get a certain reaction when you ask a question or make a statement that leaves people guessing or wondering.
- Conversation starters should not be demanding.
Talking to people that are not friends or family takes a bit more effort.
I will feel more relaxed to have a conversation if you call my attention by saying:
- Can we talk?
- Do you have a few minutes to spare?
- I’ll like to speak with you.
- Can we talk about ‘how much you love icecream‘
we need to talk or I want to talk to you.
In my opinion, statements like that can easily put anyone off. Ask questions nicely, do not sound demanding.
- Conversation starters should not seem like you are prying.
Small talks are usually recommended but are the absolute worse if not handled properly.
It is probably just me but i cringe at questions like:
- What do you do? (When, during the day, noon, for leisure, at night?).
- Tell me about yourself? (which part do you want to listen to)
I’m sorry but sarcasm won’t let me see those questions as normal for conversation starters.
- Conversation starters should never feel like a Q & A session.
The best way to avoid awkward conversations would be asking specific questions that does not give room for bland or one word answers.
- Be interesting.
- Do not sound like you a detective. (No one likes to divulge lots of information when you’ve just met).
- Have your own answers to the questions you are asking.
- Be polite.
Where do you work and what words best describes you sound more appealing if you ask me. It narrows down the question to a specific area.
This should have come first but i saved it for last.
- Conversation starters should be well thought out.
You honestly cannot meet someone at a party and start a conversation by asking ‘what are you doing here’?
If you meet someone in a book store, it is smarter to ask ‘what book do you intend to buy’ not ‘do you like to read books’.
Once you have successfully crossed the introduction stage, your conversations should be relevant and centred around the event, restaurant, cinema, church, wedding, birthday, conference where you meet.
With the amout of questions at our disposal, one would wonder how we still run out of things to say.
To have an interesting conversation, ensure you are not sending the listener into semi-anxiety or panic mode from the first sentence.
Share your experiences.
What’s usually your first impression when you are told ‘we need to talk’?
What’s the worse conversation starter you’ve been told?
I’ll love to read from you.
Love, Peace and Cupcakes