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Books on Conversation Skills

KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
edited May 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I am looking to get recommendations on books or other resources about conversations, specifically small talk. I’ve had a couple of conversations recently with friends where we have decided that our small techniques are serviceable but kind of lacking in some ways.

I’ve found a course or two that I could take on advanced small talk (lol) and conversation skills but they are kind of expensive and I think before I pay good money for that kind of thing I would prefer to do some reading first. So does anyone have any recommendations for books or other cheap study resources on this kind of thing?

I’ve done a fair bit of speech training while at school/work and am a pretty confident speaker so I am not really after that kind of resource or training.

Kalkino on
Freedom for the Northern Isles!

Posts

  • underdonkunderdonk __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2009
    Books on small talk?

    I'd recommend hitting up a situation where small talk is common and listening/participating. A party at a friends house (not a bar), a family reunion, library, etc.

    Back in the day, bucko, we just had an A and a B button... and we liked it.
  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2009
    The secret to small talk isn't difficult; you just imagine yourself talking about a topic of conversation that is actually interesting and then apply that same enthusiasm to the most mundane subjects you can imagine.

  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Thanks for the tips so far.

    Just to clarify I do not think I am particularly bad at small talk or conversation. I am a good listener, outgoing, travelled/educated etc and I am pretty good at hiding my opinions or feelings during face to face discussions.

    I guess what I am looking for is some sort of indepth discussion or research into techniques or procedures relating to conversation.

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    "How to make friends and influence people" by Carnegie (I think)?

  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    The secret to small talk isn't difficult; you just imagine yourself talking about a topic of conversation that is actually interesting and then apply that same enthusiasm to the most mundane subjects you can imagine.

    So true. If you're talking just to talk, pretend you're having a better time than you are. Don't pour it on too much obviously, but a small amount of interest can go a long way to setting up a real conversation.

    That, and remember that the other person is in your boat, and probably doesn't find small talk the greatest of pursuits.

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  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Hypatia wrote: »
    "How to make friends and influence people" by Carnegie (I think)?

    I was thinking about this title, but my question really would be - is it worth reading? I've only ever seen it referenced in various tv shows/movies or books and then almost always as part of a joke.

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • SerpentSerpent Sometimes Vancouver, BC, sometimes Brisbane, QLDRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Hypatia wrote: »
    "How to make friends and influence people" by Carnegie (I think)?

    I was thinking about this title, but my question really would be - is it worth reading? I've only ever seen it referenced in various tv shows/movies or books and then almost always as part of a joke.

    It's pretty famous.

    I haven't read the book, but my work just paid for me to take a very expensive course based on the book.

    The course is pretty big world-wide too and known for it's high ROI.

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    It's on my bookshelf at home. You can probably find it at any public library, as famous as it is; I'd recommend reading it. Even if you feel like it hasn't helped you, it will require only the time you put into reading it to make that determination for yourself.

  • LerageLerage Registered User
    edited May 2009
    I definitely recommend Carnegie's book - it's all common sense really, but sometimes everyone needs common sense spelled out to them, so it's incredibly useful.

  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Ok since you all seem to think it is worth the effort I shall track down a copy this weekend. Thanks again

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • bionicbionic Washington StateRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Just in case you're still looking around at books, I thought I'd pop in and mention something that may help.

    Discourse Analysis by Barbara Johnstone teaches the reader about conversational structure and what happens in conversations. While it doesn't technically teach the reader how to be a better speaker, or to be better at small talk, it does create a heightened awareness of what takes place between two people when they're talking to one another. It's a text book, so it's a little on the expensive side, but it's still very interesting.

  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Don't worry too much about small talk. I nice quip or two is really all that is needed until you all start finding some common ground to discuss on.

    Why the question on small talk? How do you think you are lacking?

    parabol
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  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Carnegie's book is goddamned brilliant. I don't think it touches on conversation too much, but its still fucking brilliant. What it does say about conversation is, "talk about the other persons interests". There ya go, I just summed up a chapter for you. Granted he does the same at the end of every chapter, but read the book!

    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Demerdar wrote: »
    Don't worry too much about small talk. I nice quip or two is really all that is needed until you all start finding some common ground to discuss on.

    Why the question on small talk? How do you think you are lacking?

    I don't think I'm really lacking in small talk skills, or general conversational ability, I would just to do some reading on the theory. Of course, any skill improvement from this reading would be nice

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
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