15 Things I Know For Sure About Talking To People


We cannot put off living until we are ready.

Jose Ortega y Gasset

This summer I’ve been teaching an 11-week on-line course – the Dynamics Of Interpersonal Communication.


Each week I give the participants an array of resources including articles, podcasts and videos. Because we typically have so much to cover in our weekly sessions, we seldom have a chance to talk about any of those resources.


This past week I divided the class into three groups of four people and I met with each group for a one-hour Zoom chat centered on their reactions to their favorite resources.


It was a risky move on my part as I wasn’t sure how any of these conversations would pan out. To my surprise, relief and delight each group conversation was a revelation. Lively, engaging, free-wheeling and no conversation ever came close to duplicating the other two in terms of topic, range and insight.


Once again, I was reminded that good things can come from good conversation!


Currently I’m working with three clients who sought me out because each feels crippled by shyness.

Each wants to figure out how to talk tactfully, intelligently and spontaneously in a variety of situations and with a broad range of people.


These three clients are diverse in terms of age, life and professional experiences.  While each has their own particular issues and goals, each wants to become more comfortable while engaging with others.


While they won’t gain traction on their goals in “6 Easy Steps,” I think I can help them reach that place of ease and sociability because each has a “fire in the belly” to break through what is holding them back.


Are you wanting to break through a shyness that inhibits your social success at work?


Here are my Top 15 life-learned truths about talking with people –

people of any generation, position or experience.


  1. Generational differences don’t matter when having a good conversation. Lively talk is lively talk.
  2. Observe the other person and their surroundings – and ask questions based on those observations of what you see and don’t see.
  3. Remain open to being non-defensively challenged from anyone’s odd or probing questions.
  4. A compliment can go a long way in creating a relaxed climate.
  5. Be present in a conversation – don’t leave the work of a conversation up to the other person because then you could be taken conversationally hostage.
  6. Have some kind of animation and know how to modulate it to the other’s personality.
  7. Don’t expect people to fully understand what they’re saying – heck, far too often I don’t understand what I’m saying!
  8. Most people want to present themselves in the best possible way, though their tactics may not always be the best and so you need to be on the look-out for that best.
  9. You will not always understand the other person’s p.o.v. and that’s when curiosity expressed as a “why?” question can illuminate.
  10. Recognize that you are biased – it only makes sense that you click more readily with some people than with others. You may not always like the other person, but that doesn’t diminish the potential for productive conversation.
  11. Recognize that everyone has a particular instinct that helps or hinders them. Personally, I am guarded and have a residual, knee-jerk lack of trust – so I need to recognize this instinct and be vigilant that it doesn’t trip me up.
  12. With some conversations the stakes are just not that high – and it’s too much effort to care about the outcome – and that’s okay.
  13. Remember the conversations you have had with generous people and also remember that you have an obligation to be for others what those generous people were for you.
  14. Everyone has the capacity to surprise you – and me – because everybody has a story and IS a story.
  15. You never know what a conversation will lead to – friendship, love, employment, or just a hangover!


To explore how communication  skills coaching can help you present you

with enhanced confidence – and joy

please contact me