Thursday, October 24, 2013

Conversation Tag-Play The Game!

Trying something different can help you break out of an old pattern and can have a positive effect not only on you, but the person you engage with in conversation. Do you remember the last time you were struggling through the day and someone started a conversation with you that changed your mood?  
Become an influencer through conversation!

Objective: To have at least one conversation with someone new each day for a month.

  •  You must smile and initiate the conversation. 
  •  If the person you choose as your conversation partner chooses not to play, give them a big smile and choose a new partner.
  •  Think of new ways to start the conversation other than, “How are you?”  
  •  At least 5 out of 7 conversations must be with a stranger or someone you very seldom   talk with, like  someone in another department at work or a neighbor you seldom run into.           
  •  One point for each conversation you attempt. Two points if the person responds. 
     Five points for making them smile. 
     Ten points for initiating a conversation with someone you usually avoid.

How to play:
The game begins with your first opportunity to speak with a stranger or someone with whom you usually do not talk. You can choose specific times each day to focus on playing, or you can play all day long. There are three levels of experience: novice, intermediate and expert.
-Novice: Asks a question which demands a safe response, such as “Where are the restrooms?”
-Intermediate: Starts a conversation by making a personal observation,” That is a unique tie. I’ve never seen one with actual feathers on it!”
-Expert: Engages the person in an exchange for a minute or more. “You are always cheerful when I come in here at lunch. What’s your secret?” “If you were to sell your secret to me, how much would you charge?”
  Communication works for those who work at it. John Powell
Each day after you have a conversation with someone new, make a note on how they responded. Were they eager to “play”? Did you feel like you came from Mars (or Venus)? Did you leave them smiling? How did the “game” affect you?

The Final Challenge:
Encourage your family, friends and co-workers to “play” as well. Make a mental note about how you feel during this process. See how many times you notice yourself on a cell phone ignoring those around you, like the person serving you your meal, ringing your purchase or trying to listen to a movie, speech, etc. Make it a conscious effort every day to connect with someone new around you. We all need human contact in our lives. Technology sometimes robs us (if we let it) of opportunities to enrich that contact. Take the challenge and connect with someone!

In order to support your efforts in playing Conversation Tag, here are some suggested ways to begin a conversation with someone new to you:

  1. Smile and say, “Nice to see you!”
  2. “How are you enjoying this weather?”
  3. Comment on their pleasant demeanor, brightly colored shirt, their kindness towards someone nearby that you may have observed.
  4. Thank them for smiling at you.
  5. Tell them something you appreciate about them, such as speedy service at the drive thru during lunch or their suggestion on how to save money at the office supply store.
  6. Say something to help turn around a negative experience, such as “It’s a good thing that person took the parking space you were waiting for…that one is reserved for people having a bad hair day.”
  7. While waiting in a long line, ask someone next to you, “What would you think of them turning on a sprinkler to keep us cool?”
  8. If you work somewhere (UPS, FedEx, store associate) that you would require someone’s signature, instead of “Sign Here” say, “We’re collecting autographs of important people and I noticed we don’t yet have yours.”
  9. Break the ice at a meeting by asking someone what their favorite vacation spot is and why.
  10. Ask someone what game show they would participate in and why.

If not, try one of the above conversation starters on yourself; the funnier or more creative, the better!

Speak well: others might be listening!