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The Art Of Conversation

For both sexes, it’s more than just small talk: Good conversationalists are likely to find greater success in love

By Marcia Jedd

hink back to someone with whom you fell in love. Do you remember your first-date conversation? Chances are you may not recall exactly what you talked about, but you remember how the interaction made you feel. Then came love.

When you put your best conversational foot forward, you boost your chances for love. A good conversationalist has more options in love as people are drawn to them. Consider these tips to boost your conversation quotient:

Differences
Recognize overall differences in communication styles between the
A good conversationalist has more options in love.
sexes. According to recent academic research, women are more likely to stay on a single conversation topic, so it’s sometimes up to the man to change the subject. The root of the old chestnut about men never asking for directions when lost is because of their unwillingness to show ignorance. Ladies favor using indirect and suggestive techniques such as, “Are you hungry?” when they would really like to get something to eat. And men, don’t take it personally if she interrupts you: women tend to interrupt more than men.

Body language pointers
If you are interested in your conversation partner, lean toward him or her while talking. It shows your affirmation and interest. Take it up a notch by discreetly mirroring or copying your date’s movements on a selected basis. So, if your date casually puts an elbow on the bar, you do the same. Your partner will feel instant rapport with you, even without realizing you’re mirroring everything.

Eyes on the prize
Being a good talker goes hand in hand with good listening. What endears you to your date? Communications expert Leil Lowndes, author of How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships, tells her audiences to consider the
Keep your gaze focused on your conversation partner.
“sticky” gaze: Keeping your gaze focused on your conversation partner. Whatever you do, don’t break off eye contact until your partner has finished speaking.

Art of the compliment
According to Lowndes, there are okay compliments and then there are “killer compliments.” These little gems get the undivided attention of their intended recipient because they are delivered privately and are specific. For example, “You look great in purple” is going to be better received than “I like your shirt.” When making a compliment, you’ll show sincerity and indicate your interest in someone when you further the conversation. “That’s great that you lift weights with a trainer. It seems good for you” is going to bring out more conversation than the suggestive “You have a great body.” By saying the former line, you’ve left the door open for the recipient to reveal more personal details or add to the topic at hand.

Smile s-l-o-w-l-y
Lowndes is a fan of not smiling so easily or frequently, something many of us women do, even subconsciously, when it’s first-impression time. Instead, Lowndes advises being stingy with your smiles. When you do smile, break it out slowly. The bonus? You’ll be perceived as being more trustworthy and credible than an ever-smiling person. This slow-to-smile strategy doesn’t work when trying to lure a man in, for example, from across the bar. Here, you need to smile a lot and make eye contact.


Marcia Jedd is a freelance writer in Minneapolis who often covers relationship issues.
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