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If you see eyes glaze over, you’ve lapsed into lecture mode and lost your audience. As T.S. Eliot observed, “Words strain, crack, and sometime break, under the burden. “ Heavy users should have to pay a licensing fee when they exceed their limit.

Learn to listen. Take a breath. Show interest in other people. Ask questions about what they have to say. And the longer you listen and ask questions, you might be surprised at how fascinating others find you as a conversationalist.

Prepare Talking Points

On the other hand, have you ever tried to engage someone in conversation when you get only limited responses? Imagine yourself in the following exchange:

“Depak and Sonya host great get-togethers, don’t they?” you toss out.

“Yes, they do.”


You try again: “I hear the Engineering team got turned down on their patent application last week. I guess that was a big disappointment. They had been counting on that to launch an entire line of engines.”

“That’s what I hear.”


“How will that affect your department?” you persist.

“I don’t know yet.”

Even an automated greeting responds well enough to take you to the next menu option.

When you know you’ll be participating in an important meeting discussion, giving an opinion on a controversial issue, or defending a budget increase, prepare ahead of time a list of key points you want to communicate.

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