How do you teach your students to have a conversation? Isn’t it special to have someone be fully present with you? To have a conversation with anyone, an adult or a child is something to behold these days…a conversation without distraction.
My most popular topic when teaching business etiquette in the workplace is The Art of the Human Connection. The art of having a conversation, is a lost “art”. We are so consumed with social media that often we are so buried in it we miss out on so many opportunities. Often, it is the first request I have from a human resource director to discuss the basic skills of conversation to their team.
Take the time to teach your students how to converse! Life is fuller when you have this life skill. You actually become interesting. A children and teens learn so much about life when they hear others conversing.
- Eye contact: This is a social skill that is so very important. By making eye contact, it shows someone that you are interested. It sends a message that you are confident. Point this out to your students. Explain why this is important. Take the opportunity to talk about confidence and how it feels. If your students are six or younger, get on their level. Literally! Get down on your knees if necessary and make eye contact with them.
- Teach them to listen to others: Another important social skill is to listen. Tell them it is alright for there to be silence when having a conversation. This is the time to practice sharing-sharing the space to tell ideas and experiences.
- Ask questions: By asking questions, you show others that you are interested in their experiences. Ask a student questions. Explain to them that you are having a conversation.
- Phone skills: The Wall Street Journal had an article about answering the phone. Remember when we were growing up and we took messages for our parents? With smart phones, this most likely is not happening. This was a great way to teach conversation skills. It is still important for children to know how to answer a phone and converse.
- Read a story. After reading a story, talk about it with your students. Did they like the story? What was their favorite part?