A SUCCESSFUL CONVERSATIONIST'S MOTTO:
"BEING CONSIDERATE OF YOUR CONVERSATION PARTNER
IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE"
The title of today's topic might provoke some strange feelings in some of you. In fact, some of you might be asking yourselves something like: (a) Is this another sermon being preached to us about how we should act and behave? (b) Why should I be concerned about being considerate of someone during a conversation if they aren't the same with me? (c) Why is this topic of any interest for those people who are just talking with one another casually? Or maybe, you have another question in your mind. These are all doubts that might be triggered in one's mind because the word "considerate" conjures up images about being overly polite to someone, showing them too much respect, or appearing to be artificial and insincere with them.
However, as you will soon find out, this is actually a very serious topic to reflect on. Before you have your next conversation with someone, think about the advice that is given here. Showing your conversation partner consideration is much more than simply being nice or polite to them. Let's explore what's involved in being mindful of the person with whom you are speaking, and how it will have a positive effect on your future conversations with others. If you want to be a successful conversationist, then it is important to (1) recognize who your conversation partner is, (2) determine ahead of time what the purpose of your conversation is with someone else, (3) know what to say and how to say it, and (4) learn how to control your own emotions and behavior during a conversation.
In the last place, and of the utmost importance for a successful conversation, learn how to control your emotions and behavior. If you want your future talks with other people to be more successful and fulfilling for both sides, then you will have to practice this approach. As mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, this part of being a successful conversationist might provoke some strange feelings in some of you. Be that as it may, let's go back and answer the three questions (a), (b) and (c) in the first paragraph so that you can see why this part is probably the most important in order to have success with your future conversations with others.
Related to question (a) above, obviously, this is not a sermon being preached about how one should act and behave. This is about self-reflection and self-analysis of one's own behavior and outwardly displayed emotions during a talk with someone else. Consider the following situation. Imagine that your conversation partner is talking with a relaxed tone of voice and tells you something that happened to them. If you don't pay attention to their facial expressions, body gestures, and tone of voice, you might interpret their words as being playful or comical, and begin to laugh out loud. However, if they are being serious, then your apparent behavior can be interpreted as being very insensitive. This would be disastrous for the communication between the two of you. Here in this example, you can see why it's important to learn to control your emotions and behavior.
Now let's turn our attention to question (b). If the person that you are talking to is not being considerate of you, then that doesn't mean that you should not be considerate of them. It is easy to let your emotions surface when this happens, but as was mentioned above, it's important to learn how to control your feelings if you want to be a successful conversationist. There are ways to deal with your conversation partner when they get difficult and seem to show you less respect. If communication is impossible with this person, then you can politely say something like, "I see that you are feeling disturbed about something, so maybe we should talk about something else, or talk later if you prefer". Even though your listener might not show you consideration, you can do the opposite and demonstrate to them that you "can" be considerate of them. Many times this will change the other person's behavior, and they will begin to relax. If you want further practice in order to deal with difficult people, look at this article titled "Ten Keys to Handling Unreasonable & Difficult People".
With regard to the last question (c) found in the first paragraph of this article, the importance of being mindful of your conversation partner is not exempt during casual talks that you have with others that you know very well (e.g., friends, family members, schoolmates, or other people familiar to you). In other words, it is important to show consideration to others in all types of conversations, not only formal and informal ones, but also casual conversations. What generally happens when you show respect and give your conversation partner consideration, is that they will do the same for you. Your behavior rubs off on them.
In the end, you are in control of the situation, and can obtain better results from your conversation with someone else if you learn to control your own emotions first. You are more likely to get what you want out of the conversation by doing this, even if the other person isn't showing you the same consideration that you are for them. After all, we are all human, and sometimes we have bad days. It is good to remember that since we all have different opinions and viewpoints about things, it makes it a lot easier to be mindful of the other person and try to understand their motivations for thinking and believing the way they do.