In this section we will take a look at what is in the way of your ability to develop good conversation skills. We’ll acknowledge where you are right now and simply pay attention to the negative habits that are keeping you stuck and resistant to change. To get the most out of this section you’ll need to read it, think about what you’ve read and then make some new choices for the future.
Even if you are a quiet person or you tend to be quiet when meeting new people this material can help you to become more comfortable and more expressive regardless of who you are talking to.
There are four keys to getting results with this material:
1. Be Aware and Make a Choice
When it comes to personal change the first step is to become aware of what you are doing and why you do it. For example, let’s say you rarely approach people. Take an objective look at this behaviour and you might notice that you do sometimes but not usually and only when you have a sense of purpose or good reason to. This revelation can then be applied to approach people more often and with less anxiety.
The second step is to choose to change. You don’t have to change, it’s entirely up to you. What is important is to notice you have a choice and to then decide what you want to do. Do you want to be more sociable? Do you want better conversation skills? Make a clear and definite choice to learn, grow and improve and it will drive all your behavior going forward.
2. Notice Which Negative Habits You Have
For all of the negative habits in this section I’d like you to read through the descriptions of how the habits manifest themselves and then ask yourself does this habit ever apply to you, a little or a lot? This is not about beating yourself up it’s about noticing the negative habits that are in place, this is not so much about skills, it’s about patterns of inertia that can convince you that your conversation skills are poor when in fact there are other factors which are more problematic.
You’ll also notice that some but not all of the habits apply to you, and some apply to a small degree while others are so prevalent in how you deal with people that it seems like that’s just the way it is and always has been. Even for habits bear in mind change is possible when you learn a new and better approach.
3. Set New Behavioral Goals
For each of the negative habits, identify if and to what extent it’s true for you and then choose, do you want to change or not? If you do, how do you want to be in this context going forward? If you don’t want to change, how are you going to handle living with this limitation for the rest of your life?
Once you set your mind on a new objective, once you decide to replace a negative habit with a positive habit you’ll gradually get used to behaving differently in those situations where you used to be apathetic and passive. At first it will take some determination and a conscious decision to be more proactive but after a while it will become a new habit, at that point it’ll start to seem Dznormaldz and as if you’ve always been that way.
4. Aim for Step by Step Improvement
Please bear in mind, this book is not light entertainment. If you want results, if you want to quickly improve your conversation skills you need to participate, you need to read the material, think about how it applies to you and exert some effort and determination to practice and apply what you’ve learnt here out there in the real world. Do not expect instant success with no effort or you’ll be disappointed. On the other hand, if you decide to improve surely but consistently through trial and error you will make steady progress. I guarantee it.
We’ll now look at the ten common negative habits people often display that can get in the way of developing great conversation skills. Some but not all of these habits will apply to you. As you read through this section pay attention to identify those patterns that determine how and even if you interact with people in your day to day life and that includes friends, family and meeting new people.