“What we focus on gets stronger.” I first heard this timeless wisdom from my friend and fellow author Nancy Oelklaus more than ten years ago. These six words have shifted and enhanced my life and my work in many ways. If I want more good things to happen in my life, I should focus on the good things that already are happening. This is a powerful practice that involves paying attention with gratitude and intention.
Another timeless piece of advice is this: “Offer to the world what you want to get out of it.” (Kind of like “You reap what you sow.”) For example, if you want people to be kinder to you, maybe try being kinder to them.
“So, big deal, Patti.” you might be thinking. “Yawn…..Everyone knows this stuff.” Maybe. Maybe not. And even if they know it, do they practice it?
Which brings me to a friendly challenge that can help you improve your conversations, beginning today. Five easy steps that can deliver big results if you put them into practice faithfully.
Step 1: Think of someone you know who is really good at conversation. This person exudes traits, behaviors, and even energy that you admire and appreciate. You enjoy your exchanges with this person. You walk away feeling good.
Step 2: What does this amazing conversationalist say and do? What traits does this person exude? As a result, what are you feeling? Write all this down in a journal. You could even use this Mad Libs style prompt: “I walk away from my conversations / interactions with ____________________ feeling ____________________because he/she/they _______________________________________.”
Step 3: Now, seek out (and strive to practice) these traits and behaviors more often in your conversations. Yes, you can do this. (Ohhh….but what about conversations that aren’t so great? Sadly, no matter what we do these will occur from time to time. So what happened that you didn’t like or wish was different? Focusing on the negative is not helpful. Switch these Drainer & Downer exchanges 180 degrees to the positive opposite behaviors, traits, or experiences. Write those down in your journal.) The objective is to collect and document as many positive conversation traits, behaviors, and experiences as possible. And to put them into practice. And again, you can do this! When you take the time to apply what you are learning (in other words practice, practice, practice)…
Step 4: Watch how your conversations start to improve. And how you improve! And how others respond to you. (Likely in more positive ways!)
Step 5: Repeat.
Try this for week or even just a few days. Okay, do it for the next few hours. I think you will begin to notice some shifts. I’d love to hear what they are!
Yes! It’s here!
Looking for more (a lot more) ideas on how you can enjoy better conversations with just about anyone you encounter? Check out my new book More Than Just Talk: The Essential Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Enjoy Better Conversations. It’s currently available on Amazon.
How may I help you and you team? I’m currently building out my book tour and speaking schedule for 2023. Contact me if you’d like to have a conversation about how I can serve you or your organization. firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit my website.