For Difficult Conversations, Have an Ace Up Your Sleeve
Interaction with others is very difficult to plan. People are dynamic beings and it is very difficult to completely direct the course of a personal interaction. Talking to others can be a difficult thing for some people, they lack confidence and believe that they will make fools of themselves by saying the wrong thing. Even people that are quite adept at talking to others can sometimes run into difficulty when the conversation goes in a completely odd direction.
The best way to overcome these problems is to be a little prepared. All preparation breeds confidence and it is therefore always a good idea to be prepared for any interaction that you might have. Preparation allows you to contemplate the upcoming interaction and to have contingency plans as to how to go about it and how to handle anything that might go wrong.
A great way to be prepared for any interaction is to have one or even a few backup questions. This question(s) can be used in order to get you out of an awkward moment of silence where the interaction becomes incredibly uncomfortable. This question gives you some extra time which you can use in order to better gauge which way you need to take the conversation in order to get your way. It is a backup, that buys you some time when the interaction just went into ‘left field’.
The question does not have to be anything crazy, it can just be something that the other person would find interesting enough to ponder for a little while. It is possible that they may not even be able to give you a coherent answer, but the time that you get is precious and it can allow you to think of a new direction for the conversation. A good question can be; “what do you think about________?”. All you need to do is pick something that is current like politics, religion, or anything that most would consider quite sensitive or difficult to answer in one sentence.
Questions like these usually require a little bit of explanation and therefore are great ways to give you time when you need it. Now you don’t want to offend the other person so it is always a good idea to review these questions and make sure that you are not asking something that is too sensitive to the other person. But if you keep a question like this on hand, so that you can use it in any interaction, you will have a wonderful little ‘ace up your sleeve’ that you can pull out just at the right time.
Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to pull out this little ace whenever you need it, at just the right time. It’s a great way to kick start the conversation again and a great way for you to reevaluate your conversational strategy. If you like, you can have a number of questions so that you are prepared to maintain a conversation through just these ‘aces’. You might also want to separate your questions so that you have questions that you would use for men and questions that you would use for women. It is up to you to decide how complex you want to make these questions and how many you want to have. Just remember that you want to stay on focus and that if the conversation needs to go in a certain direction then you must keep this in mind when you come up with those ‘ace questions’.
Conversations and interactions with others can be a difficult thing even for seasoned pros. It is always a good idea to have an ace up your sleeve. This ‘ace’ takes the form of a question that you can use whenever the conversation goes into dead silence or in a direction that is in no way to your benefit. Having this ‘ace’ will allow you to be successful in any difficult conversation.