The Airhead’s Guide to Conversation
*As seen on the Pucker Mob
We’re not stupid, we’re just not that eloquent. Since our childhood, the inability to properly express ourselves has led our peers to think that there’s no lights in the attic, but that’s not true. There’s a lot of bright ideas. It’s just that our clumsy tongues become blinders that shut out our thoughts. For some, it’s a real disability, for others it could be ADHD, shyness, or even day dreams.
It’s not too much of a problem when we’re with the people that are used to our quirks, it’s easy to talk for hours, but when we’re around someone we hardly know, the atmosphere can get awkward, fast. It’s worse when people are impatient.
Let’s be clear that we’re awesome. We have a ton of great ideas and cutting retorts, but they don’t always come out of hiding. The following are some ways that we can project our bright intellect out into the world. Ready to converse?
1. Stop trying to fit all your ideas into the conversation
Many of us are perfectionists. It’s not hard to be when we have really specific ideas just like anyone else. The problem with wanting everything perfect is that we too often require precision of understanding. If people don’t understand the vision we have for a class project, we feel it’s not going to be as engaging and fantastic. We don’t like doing things halfhearted.
We need to stop this. Don’t be a perfectionist here. If things don’t get said the first time, there’s always the 20 other times we’ll be talking about the project. No need to panic. Wait.
2. Stop thinking about all that we want to say, instead listen hard.
Being honest here, yeah. We have times when we’re in outer space and need to come back to Earth, but sometimes we’re actually listening and thinking hard about the conversation. One word: Mind tangents.
In those moments, we don’t realize that the conversation has moved on. While everyone else is now talking about canoeing, we’re still talking about sea lions. This is one of our biggest problems.
What we’ll realize is that topics will be just as plentiful when we listen to the progress of the conversation. We have to remember not to hold onto a comment just because we want to say it. If the moment has passed, let it go. Other words and comments will come.
3. When communicating frustration, say it with patience.
Better yet, we shouldn’t talk when we’re angry. The more emotionally involved we seem, the less credible our words will be taken. People might argue or cut us off if they feel we’re taking frustration out on them. They will listen if they feel that our judgments are accurate and objective.
Even when the situation is hard, use a very fair (evening loving) manner of speaking and people won’t brush us off.
4. Don’t be afraid of silence
You’ll be surprised what other people have to say when you’re not forcing yourself to speak.
Just don’t forget to listen.
5. If you need a moment to think of the right word, communicate that you need a sec.
What happens a lot is when we’re trying to think of the right word to say, people start zoning out. The air gets really awkward and we wonder if we should even finish this sentence that no one cares about anymore.
Even letting them know that we’re thinking helps stall their boredom. If we’re really having trouble with the word, our listeners might help us and make suggestions.
6. If you’re vague in the way you talk, start using your hands to do half the talking.
There’s just something about being a visual representation of our thoughts that engages people. I suspect it’s because not only are they listening, they are now watching your thoughts happen.
7. Stay away from the monotonous lecture tones
School teachers. Nuff said.
8. Occasionally ask a question
Take a break and take a bite of food. Asking questions allows the focus to be on someone else. It will make them feel more involved in the conversation.
9. Keep up with the news
Instead of talking endlessly about the weather, this will allow you to have a whole arsenal of topics. It’s even better if you have an opinion on current events. What’s your take on gun control? How about some famous Supreme Court cases? Talk about them!
This way, you don’t have to wait for someone else to provide the topic. You can jump right in with a “Did you hear?”
10. Simplify your sentences
If our words are getting caught up, take a moment to split your words into shorter sentences. It’s less confusing for listeners and more effective for you. When we simplify, so does our ideas.
11. Don’t BS. Be real and disagree gently
One of the biggest ways we appear stupid is when we agree with everything someone else has said. Even with fellow airheads, I get confused when they nod before I even finish my final word. It makes people come off like they are not listening or caring. It won’t seem genuine.
Let your disagreement show sometimes.