The art of conversation is a craft, something even experts can always be improving upon. Successful conversations achieve the desired goal, whether that is to recruit and persuade someone, or to collect high quality information about that person. The elements that make a conversation successful are often the softer characteristics, and rely on active listening and high emotional intelligence. In this five-part series we will discuss basic conversation format and add in best practices to develop the softer conversation skills.
Part 1: Introduction
The conversation introduction sets the tone for the entire conversation. A fantastic beginning of the conversation makes up for and can withstand any awkward interactions later in the conversation. The purpose of the introduction is to:
Start the conversation. Every interaction someone has with another person begins with an introduction. If you don’t abide by these basic social rules, it is unnerving.
Add credibility to your conversation. Who are you and why are you at my door or calling me on the phone? Answering this question early puts the person at ease. The organisation you’re calling on behalf of has its own associations. As soon as you connect yourself to that larger entity it fills in a bit of the background as to who you are any why you’re talking to them.
Build trust between you and the person. Knowing one another’s name adds a personalised element to the conversation. Knowing someone by name is the beginning of a relationship, and ultimately we’re trying to build a brief relationship throughout the conversation.
A strong introduction can be achieved by doing these things:
Short and sweet. Simply a greeting, your name, and your organisation is usually enough to successfully introduce yourself. Often people want to add a long description about their organisation at this stage, but that can cause the listener to tune out. If they are curious about your organisation, they will ask, and that is more responsive and engaging to the person you’re targeting.
Open body language. Body language plays an enormous role in successful conversations, managing your own body language to elicit the response you want, and in reading your listeners body language. Keep your body language open and friendly by standing with an open stance, arms uncrossed, and always be smiling and warm. Reading others body language can be difficult to teach and is a learned skill you will gain through experience.
Tone of the conversation. Keeping a friendly, helpful, and gracious tone will result in a successful conversation. If you get pushy or frustrated, the listener will usually shut down and become unresponsive, or become aggressive in response.
These tips will help you start the conversation off on the right foot. Tune in for the next part of the conversation!
For further advice on how to build and engage the community for your organisation, please contact Campaign Capital.
CGM Communications influences and inspires action through connection and the sharing of stories. We support strategic communication with the community, government and media.