PATHS TO STARTING CONVERSATIONS : McAfee (2002) [Social Skills 12]

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PATHS TO STARTING CONVERSATIONS : McAfee (2002) [Social Skills 12]

REMEMBER THE MNEMONIC PATHS

P – Prepare ahead
A – Ask yourself what you’re going to say
T – Time it right
H – Hello
S – Signals – good non-verbal signals

P – Prepare ahead
– Keep “fact files” – so you know important facts about other people & so you can keep track of the facts that you know about other people
– Use these facts in conversations so you know what conversational topics interest other people
– This shows the other person that you care about him or her
– A good idea might be to start by keeping fact files on index cards
– Right name & other facts on these cards – include interests, favourite subjects [later on, you can keep “invisible files” in your head

A – Ask yourself what you’re going to say (before you start talking)
Try to choose topics that:
– compliment the other person (achievements work well for people you don’t know well)
– show your interest in the other person by talking about subjects that are important to them, NOT those which are important to you (check your fact file)
– give other information the person needs to know or ask for information you need to know
– offer or ask for help

T – Time it right – that is choose a good time to start a conversation
Not so great times to start a conversation are:
– when the other person is having a private conversation with someone else (such as when they are standing near someone, sitting close to another person, talking in a low voice, or speaking to someone on the telephone)
– when the other person is busy or in a rush (walking fast, looks at watch, tells you he/she is on their way somewhere)
– is engaged in an activity that requires their full attention (reading, watching a movie, counting, working on a computer(
[exceptions to the rule – an emergency]

H – Hello
– start with a hello unless you have already greeted the person

S – Signals – give good non-verbal signals
– smile (unless it is a serious or sad subject)
– keep your body turned toward the other person
– use a friendly tone if voice
– use eye contact – this
– shows you are going to speak
– demonstrates you are interested in listening to him/her
– allows you to check the other person’s reaction to what you are saying
– enables you to emphasise a point
– allows you to close the conversation

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