#067: How to Have Better Dinner Conversations [Podcast]

A few weeks ago, my wife Gail and I were invited out for an impromptu dinner and movie with friends. Our schedules are often so tight that when we get a chance to do something like this we jump at it. We weren’t disappointed.

The movie and the dinner were great. But what really stood out was our conversation.

It reminded me that being a good conversationalist is a critical success skill. It matters—not only in our personal lives but also in our professional lives as well.

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As I thought about the great conversations I’ve had over the years, I realized they all had certain elements in common. I boiled these down to ten suggestions for better dinner conversations.

Here are ten suggestions:

  1. Be intentional about it.
  2. Choose a conducive environment
  3. Have only one conversation.
  4. Use open-ended questions.
  5. Ask a second question.
  6. Draw out quieter guests.
  7. Don’t “one-up” your guests.
  8. Pay attention to people’s physical needs.
  9. Do more listening than talking.
  10. Affirm people, even if you disagree with them.

Listener Questions

  1. Lucy asked, “How do you keep from feeling like a self-appointed moderator when you are the primary person making/starting conversation at the table?”
  2. Brian asked, “Any suggestions when the people you invite have kids that are ‘active’ during mealtimes? What if you have small children?”
  3. Patricia asked, “How can we teach our children to be better conversationalists?”
  4. Larry asked (in reference to a blog post I published earlier this week), “How does journaling fit into your morning routine?”

Special Announcements

  1. We still have a few tickets left for the Platform Conference, which will be held in Dallas, Texas on November 3-5, 2013—just about a month away. We have a terrific lineup of speakers this year:
    • Lysa TerKeurst
    • Amy Porterfield
    • Derek Halpern
    • Cliff Ravenscraft
    • Stu McLaren
    • Ray Edwards
    • Jeff Goins
    • Ken Davis

    Also, for a limited time, you can get a special $200 discount by using the code: OCTOBER.

  2. If you are considering launching your own platform—or just getting serious about it—you need to start with a self-hosted WordPress blog.

    This is not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, I have put together a step-by-step screencast on exactly how to do it.

    You don’t need any technical knowledge.By the way, I just updated this screencast a few weeks ago, so it has the latest and greatest information available. I walk you through the entire process in exactly 20 minutes.

  3. My next podcast will be on the subject of “Sleep and Your Productivity.” If you have a question on this or ANY subject, please leave me a voicemail message. This is a terrific way to cross-promote your blog or website, because I will link to it, just like I did with the callers in this episode.

Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

Show Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here, courtesy of Ginger Schell, a professional transcriptionist, who handles all my transcription needs.

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Question: What things have you found helpful in generating more meaningful conversations?

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