Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Talking to People You Don't Know ...but you can know them

by Dale Shumaker

How do you talk to people you don't know? In an article by Susan Krauss Whitbourne,
she shares how to be successful with small talk. She takes her insights from what
she has learned in therapeutic psychology. If we follow her ten points, in any occasion
we will be effective in relating to people, having them trust sharing with us and being
more truthful with us.

1. Listen. When we first meet people, we feel we need to talk, but the best first
step is to listen. Listen first, talk second. Don't worry so much about what
you say, but what the other person is saying. So come prepared with some good
open-ended initial questions.

2.Be emphatic and reflect what they say. Tell people what you are hearing them
This way they know you are listening, and it gives the other person a chance to clarify
what they said so you don't make the wrong judgement on what they said.

3. Pay attention to their body language. Did something you say make them feel
uncomfortable? Be ready to back off a line of conversation if they pull away from you.
People would rather not talk about some things. Move on to a new path if you sense this.

4. Avoid making snap judgements. Follow points one to three above and you will
avoid your own mental miscues. There may be a lot more to the story that will
create understanding if you know the whole story.
In a short conversation, you
may not get all these necessary details.

5. Be somewhat of a behavior profiler. If you know you will be meeting someone,
try to get some background on them, so you can ask some questions they will enjoy

6. Don't assume people will agree with you. Social psychology has shown many of
us in a conversation will assume the other person agrees with us, before knowing them.
Keep things open ended as much as possible and ask questions first. Go with the
flow and show some understanding to their point of view.

7. Try to learn from each interaction with a person. By asking questions and asking
a person to clarify what they said, it opens them up to share more information.
By being inquisitive and probing, without opinion, it opens doors lo learn from
your conversation.

8. Stay on top of news, current events and unusual events in the world...
places where we have common knowledge.
This is the easiest place to start. By
being open we can learn from others' perspective on things, and find out more
of their true philosophies on things.

9. When not to talk.  When on public transportation, waiting for a flight, or some
other neutral environment, some prefer not to talk. Observe to see if they are open.
If you get eye contact once in a while, may mean they are open to chat. Respect places
where others prefer their privacy. Even at social gathers, some are reluctant to talk
very much.

10. Don't over share. Sharing too much personal information too soon may make the
other person feel uncomfortable with you. Love affairs, medical conditions, personal
disputes may seem to be too intimate information for others.
When you share negative
things, it creates a feel you are a complaining type person, or just a negative person.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., has written The Search for Fulfillment
and you find more from her at her website:

A classic example on talking to people you don't know was when Jesus was talking to the Samaritan woman at the well.

One quality of Jesus was He knew people. The Scriptures said He knew all man's thoughts. In the case of the woman at the well, she was bewildered that a Jew would talk to a Samaritan. It was forbidden back then, so it was an unusual situation. She was very shocked by what Jesus already know about her and went back to her people to tell them, "this man told me everything about me." Everyone was so impressed they invited Jesus to come stay with them for a while.

This is the goal of communication... to get people to want to spend some more time with us. If they feel we know them, it opens up the door of acceptance. 

Jesus also knew the motives of men. When some questioned Him, He knew if they were sincere or trying to trap Him.   As we hear in a court trial, leading questions would be thrown out for trying to lead the witness. Some questions asked Jesus were leading questions. The questions were to trap Him in a statement they would hold against him, not for sincere discovery of what He was about.

Where did Jesus get this ability? Jesus said He only tells what the Father tells Him. In the times off alone in prayer He was able to hear from God on the specifics He would be dealing with that day, and how to handle them. He knew every one's heart and who was trying to entrap Him.

If people feel we are on to their evil intentions, it will cause them to back off from doing harm to us.

We can get the same insight in times of prayer, refection, allowing the thoughts of the Holy Spirit to enter our minds. Keep the listening process in place to sort out what God's Spirit is communicating to us.

What we call prayer is really this Divine time of Divine Communication. It's a time of presenting problems, asking for solutions, and taking what is impressed on us as Divine Direction.

The Scriptures encourage us to be still before God. In the middle of the night, both late night, early morning, we can hear when in the stillness around us. Make those times sacred to hear the impressions of Spirit sent through our minds. Trust those times as hearing from God, a sacred time of His time to speak to us. When we cultivate those, we continue to hear His directions, thoughts, impressions throughout the day. Start in faith, trust, and obey what is  transmitted to Spirit to you. Act in faith that they are insights from the Holy Spirit for you.

The Holy Spirit is the creator of all things. Listen, respond and know how to speak to all men. The Spirit also gives us favor with people so they will listen to what we have to say.