Having conversations can be fun and insightful just as long as you follow some simple rules such as, inquiry, thinking, listening and sharing (ITLS). Conversations can be boring if you are not creative and insightful about how to keep your communication partner engaged. It is even more difficult if you do not know what to say or how to show interest in the conversation. It is like going to an art class and being given a blank canvas with no instructions other than to recreate Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. If you are like most of us with limited artistic skills, you will get anxious and not know how to proceed.
Picture yourself again in that very same art class however, this time the teacher not only gives you steps to follow, but also, walks you through each step. While your painting will not be exactly like Leonardo da Vinci’s, I am sure you will feel confident enough to keep working on the painting. First of all, conversation does not come easily for most people, contrary to popular beliefs. It is a process we learn and perfect over time. ITLS rules are the first steps to practice.
- Inquiring: By asking simple questions about the person or interest you will get moving in the right direction.
- Thinking about the person, topic, and word choice will help the conversation flow smoothly.
- Listening to know that the person is truly interested in what you are talking about will sustain the conversation for a longer period of time. The person also has to listen to understand and respond to you.
- Sharing your thoughts means affirming your knowledge, clarifying the information or acknowledging another person’s knowledge.
What makes a conversation fun?
A good conversation is not boring and is not all about one person’s interest. All conversations are not the same. Some conversations are serious and are meant to solve problems or find solutions. Some conversations are informative. Informative conversations are meant to share and gain knowledge. Finally there are entertaining conversations. These conversations are an exchange of jokes to make you feel relaxed among friends.
Uduak (Udie) Osom holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from San Jose State University. Udie has served students of all ability levels from preschool through grade 12, for over 20 years. She is very passionate about neuro-developmental disabilities and social-cognitive disabilities. She is the owner/director of Innovative Therapy Services, a pediatric speech, language and social skills clinic in Santa Clara, CA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org