Today is Thursday, so this post is on communication skills.
I saw an interview with Larry King in the Monday, April 16 edition of USA Today. Mr. King has been working in television for 50 years. He is a great interviewer, and a great conversationalist. Conversation skills are one of the hallmarks of great communicators.
I was struck by his answer to the question: “You are a master of keeping conversations going? How do you do that?”
Mr. King’s answer was elegant in its simplicity. “I’m a who, what, where, when guy. I ask short questions. I get to the point. The person I am interviewing knows that I am interested in what he or she has to say. They know I’m listening to their answer. I have a pace that is natural.”
Mr. King’s points provide three simple, common sense rules for using questions to become a great conversationalist.
- Short simple questions — like Who? What? Where? When? — work very well. They allow the other person to speak because they’re short. And they make it easy for the other person to answer because they’re straightforward. The common sense point here is to make your questions simple and easy to answer. Do not make the mistake of making a statement — worse yet, a long rambling statement – and then asking “what do you think of that?”
- Listen to people’s answers to your questions. Show them that you understand by nodding your head or repeating what they’ve said. Use their responses as a cue for your next question.
- Pay attention to your pace. Don’t throw out rapid fire questions. Allow the other person to catch his or her breath. If he or she says something interesting, pause for a few seconds to show that you are processing the answer.
If you use three common sense bits of advice on questions from Larry King, a master conversationalist, you’ll become a better conversationalist and networker. And, conversation and networking skills are an important part of career and life success.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense. Check out my other blog: www.CommonSenseGuy.com for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.
I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
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