Consisting of the Pre Conversation and Conversation phase, the FK
method stresses the importance of utilizing both verbal and non-verbal communication to bring forth receptivity. In the Pre Conversation phase, you evaluate yourself and actively adopt the necessary body language to promote positive contact. In the Conversation phase, you get down to business and make the final approach to success.
Many poor conversationalists don't realize that negative body language account for their failure in communication. These unfortunate people adopt non-receptive body language (discussed earlier in the book) and stifle conversation before it even commences.
To make non-verbal communication work for you, you can use a "softening" technique. The softening technique makes your initial impression work for you. The softening technique consists of a set of handy body language gestures that will make people more receptive to your attempts at contact. Initiating conversations become easier.
A genius came up with this mnemonic (not me). Sometimes, remembering the entire body language alphabet can be overwhelming. This mnemonic lets you remember the most vital gestures that allow receptivity and openness. Deployed before any conversation, these body language gestures create the proper ambiance for friendship.
S -Smile. Smile at someone. Do it sincerely. A positive non-verbal signal, this gesture communicates a willingness to communicate. The other person will consider it a compliment, allowing him to feel good. He will most likely smile back. When you send friendly messages, you get friendly messages back. Couple this smile with a warm hello. It indicates approval of the other person. Remember the basic theory on psychology 101? People like those who like them. Here's a little exercise. Smile at the mirror. After you smile, give your best grimace. With whom with you rather talk with?
O - Open posture. Poor conversationalists frequently give off "stay away" signals by crossing their legs and arms. Because closed postures indicate a defensive frame of mind, these people appear unapproachable. Open that posture! Keep your arms and legs uncrossed. Don't cover your mouth or your chin with your hands. Appear at ease. Open postures send signals of receptivity and it beckons, " I'm open for contact --- let's talk!"
F - Forward Lean. Learn forward in a natural and casual way when your prospect speaks. It indicates interest in your part and encourages him to continue talking. By appearing interested in what he may have to say, you win the confidence and liking of your companion. You broadcast to him, "Keep talking-- this is good stuff!" Never lean back or put your hands behind your head. Don't mount your head on your chin (the famous "thinking pose"). You will appear disinterested.
T -Touch. At some point early in the conversation, initiate a hand shake. This is a wonderful step to opening channels for communication. Energize the handshake; grip warmly, yet firmly. Touching breaks down the distance barrier between two individuals.
E - Eye Contact. Direct eye contact further indicates interest in the other person. By gazing into someone's eyes you manifest willingness to talk and to know him better. Eye contact should be friendly, and non-aggressive. Allow your eyes to travel from his pupils, to his forehead, to his nose, then to his ears. Varying where you look makes your gaze softer and less forced. You can then concentrate on gazing upon the spot between his eyes for the rest of the conversation. For those still shy of eye gazing, maintain your gaze directly between the eyes. It gives the appearance of eye contact despite looking elsewhere. Eye contact is vital. It encourages your companion and he gazes back just as earnestly. If you minimize eye contact, you appear bored, or worse, dishonest. Little or no eye contact spells doom for communication.
N - Nod. Nod when your companion speaks. Nodding shows that you listen. As with the previous gestures, nodding lets you appear friendly and open. Your companion will feel eager to go on talking because he senses your approval.
The SOFTEN technique makes a good preparation for communication. The next step is to circulate, looking for receptive-looking individuals. Once you find someone open for contact, be the first to initiate conversation and apply the following techniques for the Conversation Phase.
The Conversation Phase
Here's where verbal communication comes in. The scientific procedure of conversation consists of the following steps:
It is tough to make the first move. Unfortunately, if you wait for others to make the first move, chances are, you'll be waiting till the cows home. Take the risk and be the first to test the waters. Approach a friendly prospect. Establish eye contact. Smile, then introduce yourself warmly.
By initiating the conversation, you control its outcome and lessen your fear of rejection. You give the impression that you are friendly, outgoing and open. By initiating, you also flatter the other person by signifying interest.
Once you get the hang of it, play this game wherever you go. Approach people in the bank while waiting in line. Chatter with the receptionist at the hotel. You'll make friends in high and low places. Contacts are invaluable.
This first step entails taking an active stance. Once you diminish passive behaviour towards meeting new people, not only will your number of friends increase, so will your confidence and ego.
• Deploy ritual questions to melt the ice.
Once you've squeezed out that hello, you can begin the conversation in two effective ways:
1) Give a compliment. Find and mention something praiseworthy of your prospect. You might say, "That is a striking Bugs Bunny tie you're wearing! Did your wife give that to you?" After the compliment, give a follow up question directly related to the compliment. This ensures that your conversation continues.
Another way of complimenting is mentioning something your prospect is carrying. Mention how unusual it is and follow up with more questions.
2) Comment or make a question based on the situation. A good place for such an opening gambit would be in a restaurant. Upon entry, seek for a solitary diner. Approach him and mention, "I'm trying out a new restaurant this week because the old one was closed by the health inspectors. They found a rat in the stew. Could you recommend something here?"
Focus on the situation that you are in. Identify yourself in your immediate environment. Take note of the place you're traveling, the people around you, and the events going on. What is happening. Why are you here? There are hundreds of questions and comments you may make about your situation. Use the situation to fuel conversation. Be aware of the vast details abounding. These can be talked about. Once your discussion on the immediate environment dries up, expand and broaden the conversation to include events happening outside of where you are. You can discuss issues concerning a restaurant in the next town or a school in the next province.
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