It can be difficult to receive immediate feedback from others about the conversations we have at networking and social events. And when we meet strangers, it can be socially awkward if we ask them for their opinion regarding our own conversation skills.
However this does not mean that you won’t be able to create your own feedback and to be able to write down in detail the conversations that you had with others. Back when I was a dating coach, and now as a conversation coach, I would always write down in detail about the conversations I had with people. I would write down what I thought I did particularly well, what I thought I needed improvement upon, what topic seemed to make people laugh, what topic made people bored, and what topics seemed to get the most interest, and even tried out different questions that might be considered taboo.
I later found out that Cornell University did a study on the difference between straight A+ students who had 4.0 and those that never got the 4.0 average. What they found as the biggest difference was that the 4.0 students would rewrite their notes the same day that they learned the material. And because of that they were able to retain up to 400% more knowledge than their lower than 4.0 colleagues at the university.
What implications does this have?
When you’re writing your own feedback report to becoming a master at the art of conversation, you need to do it the same day that the conversations took place so that they are fresh in your head. I went to a networking event, and noticed that I made simple notes that helped me feel focused and allowed me to determine what I needed work on next time.
Here’s something I wrote down that I did very well.
-I had a conversation with a nurse, and was able to transition from one topic of business to talk about her family. She has one son, and one daughter, and found out that her husband is a quiet person, and they met when she use to work in the IT industry. I’ve found that people are very happy to talk about their son and daughter, and are usually very proud to talk about their own achievements.
Now something I didn’t do very well:
-Even though the official portion of the breakfast round table had ended, I talked to two people. Because I had the time, I should have stayed longer, get out of the comfort zone, and networked until I was one of the very few people left. Next time when I go to a networking event, I will be one of the very last people to stay, to test my own endurance of how long I can network. Must work on getting out of that comfort zone.
After that particular networking event, and the conversations I had with some of the other people there, I wrote the self feedback report 2 hours after the event. And because of that, I was able to self reflect, as if I was writing my own journal entry, but for a specific event in my life.
If you want to improve all your conversations, whether social or business, then I would highly suggest that you write your own feedback report the same day that you had multiple conversations. Write them in detail, what did you say, what words did you use that got people’s attention, what was your tone like, did a certain question you ask engage one person. Whatever it is, write down as much as you can, and from there you can start adjusting and following your own system of conversation that allows people to be emotionally engaged in what you have to say.
Even after having thousands of conversations with strangers, I still make this at least a weekly practice. And you should too! Get started and write your self feedback report today.
Vincent Ng is a conversation coach. He has taught conversation courses to hundreds of people on how to be more charismatic in social and professional environments. He is the author of the book, Art of Conversation: From Small Talk to Deep Conversations, you can visit his website http://www.practiceconversation.com