Recently, I had two conversations with people, one was a young man, late teens, and the other person was a middle-aged adult. Both of them had expressed concerns over being able to talk with people. Where do you start? What can you talk about? etc.
To those who have followed this blog, you’ll recognize this slide (My Balance Sheet). Sometimes I feel like George Washington Carver and his discoveries of over 300 uses for the peanut. I don’t know how many applications and insights I have come to understand from this slide, but here is one more: as a guide to helping a person have conversations.
So, here are a couple of suggestions:
- begin your conversation with “superficial/non-threatening topics of conversation, such as FAMILY (are you married? for how long? do you have children? what are their names? are they involved with many activities?, etc.), STEWARDSHIP (think material possessions (cars, houses, golf clubs, cell phones, etc.), and WORK (where do you work? for how long? what do you do?, etc.)
- please keep in mind you are not gathering information, but trying to better understand the person you are talking with.
- depending on the level of transparency, you might be staying on these three topics for some time, going deeper and deeper in the things that are being shared, but depending on how the conversation goes, you…
- might also begin to talk about other matters, such as VOLUNTEERING activities, or what is done in their LEISURE time.—–again, the point is to continue developing deepening relationship and points of connection
- another direction the conversation might go is in the way of PERSONAL HEALTH (what do you do for exercise, dieting, mutual friendships, etc.) and lastly, DEVOTION TO GOD (when I say “lastly” it is not because this area of responsibility is the least important (I think this is the most important of all areas of responsibility), but because this area is so personal, and so important that at least, generally, you will not want to go there real quick without developing some kind of basis of trust, where you can freely discuss this vital area.