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 2: Exploring and Understanding the Person
To effectively communicate with someone, you first need to understand where they are coming from. This requires a whole lot of active listening and curiosity. It takes time to develop this skill without sounding like you’re playing 20 questions or being nosey.
We can successfully gather information about the individual through asking open ended questions and leading the conversation with curiosity. Open ended question cannot be answered by a simple Yes or No, they prompt the speaker to elaborate and think about their response.
Open ended questions usually start with “why” or “how”. Here are some examples of open ended questions:
“Why did you do it that way?”
“How exactly did that start?”
“What was that experience like?”
Even something like “That’s really interesting, tell me more” will prompt the speaker to tell you more about the situation, their motivations, and thinking process. All of that is useful information to better understand your audience. And the more you know, the easier it is to communicate most effectively.
We’ll use all the information you’ve gained about the person from this section to inform how you’ll shape their expectations and vision to get the message across. Follow along for Part 3: Shaping Vision and Expectations.
Read Part 1 of the Successful Conversations Series by clicking here.
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.