What type of conversationalist are you?
Are you the “Razzle Dazzler”? You know, the charismatic one who wants to WOW the crowd through entertainment, humor, and storytelling.
Or are you the “Wham Bam Close The Deal Ma’am”? The kind who comes in hot to a new encounter ready to make a sale.
Maybe you’re the “Name Dropper”? The super-connected one who wants to make sure YOU know that THEY know the most important person WE should ALL know.
Are you the “Inquisitive Interrogator”? The one whose question-asking abilities rival talk show hosts and private investigators.
Or possibly you’re the “Timid Talker”? The one who’d rather be conversed AT than conversed WITH.
The truth is, no matter what type of conversationalist you are, there are practical steps you can take to be a “Compassionate and Charismatic Conversationalist.” Let’s flush them out together, shall we?
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While it’s impossible to pinpoint and name every type of conversationalist, I’m sure you can think of a person that fits each of the archetypes mentioned above.
Before we talk about what TO DO, let’s take a quick look at some common conversational pitfalls that may plague each one:
“Razzle Dazzler”: While captivating and charismatic, the Razzle Dazzler has the potential to lose its luster quickly if they aren’t careful. Sure, a timely joke is fun for a crowd, but over time, people want to be entertained LESS and connected with MORE.
If you’re a Razzle Dazzler, prepare yourself to simmer down and invite others into your spotlight in a meaningful way—or risk leaving the conversation having learned nothing about your new contacts.
“Wham Bam Close The Deal Ma’am”: Buyer beware, this type of conversationalist has selling on their mind and doesn’t take no for an answer. While their product may be life-changing, their approach is life-draining.
If you’re a seller at heart and come in hot to groups with only business on your mind—let’s take a moment and breath. Selling is like dating—the buyers want to be wooed, not creepily stalked. So lighten up a bit and make a connection before you pitch a deal.
“Name Dropper”: We get it. You know A LOT OF PEOPLE. And they are important. And by proximity, you are amazing as well. And that’s great—you’re well-connected. But before you start rattling off your hot list of contacts, it might behoove you to engage in a little market research and get to know your audience.
Do you know who you’re talking to? It might just be the next CEO of Google, but if you’re too busy throwing around other names, you risk losing out on making another meaningful connection.
“Inquisitive Interrogator”: You know how to make people talk—whether you’re simply inquiring about someone’s personal life or asking about their next business deal.
And while an Inquisitive Interrogator has potential to build meaningful connections by really getting to know someone, just remember, conversation is a 2-way street. If you aren’t willing to share vulnerably with others, your questioning may seem nosier and less sincere.
“Timid Talker”: Large groups are a necessary evil for you. You understand the value of networking, but would rather someone talk at you instead of with you. If you aren’t careful and choose not to dance the dance of conversation, you might just end up as a wallflower—which no one wants for you.
Step out of your comfort zone even ever-so-slightly and keep the dance going—it’s more fun when everyone participates!
TIPS AND TRICKS
So how do we do it? How do we take the strong suits of each archetype and create a conversational superhero who effortlessly flows through a conversation?
Dr. Karl Albrecht from Boston University argues that all conversationalists should follow the Rule of 3.
He asserts that every conversation is filled with 3 types of sentences. Your job, as an expert conversationalist, is to juggle those 3 types of sentences throughout a conversation—ensuring all 3 sentence types are used equally.
The 3 types of sentences used in a conversation are:
Declarations: These are statements of fact (or are at least spoken as if they are fact, even if someone is simply stating an opinion). Razzle Dazzlers, Wham Bams, and Name Droppers use this type of sentence a lot—“This product is the best one around!” “He is the person for the job!” “You won’t be able to live without this!”
Questions: These are...well...questions. The Inquisitive Interrogator is the master in the question game, even though the Wham Bams probably use questions frequently too—“Where are you from? What do you do for work? Which of these products would you like to purchase?”
Conditionals: These statements are gentler ways to share opinions and views. Most conditional statements start with “I think…” or “I feel…” or “It seems to me…” The Timid Talker uses a large number of conditionals in conversations as a way of building trust with the new contact. Meanwhile, the Razzle Dazzlers, Wham Bams, and Name Droppers rarely use conditional sentences for fear of losing credibility on a topic.
By using all three types of sentences in a conversation, you can be seen as a trusted voice who equally values and respects other peoples’ opinions—this is what we want after all! This delicate balancing act will propel you into “Compassionate and Charismatic Conversationalist” status in no time!