Thursday, December 29, 2005

Keep Those Water Cooler Conversations Under Control

With the national landscape swiftly changing, even the "water cooler" discussions about the prior evening's television-viewing have heated up from rehashing season premieres or the weather to highly-contested political debates and controversial government bailouts. Rich Masters, a specialist in teaching people how to prepare for televised talk shows, has several suggestions for keeping a cool head during these possibly heated discussions.

  • "Zing it!": Have one or two "zingers" ready, quotes that can help you break the ice or clinch the conversation. Think like Jon Stewart...have something amusing and memorable to add to the discussion that supports your argument.
  • "Don't Squawk Alone": Having someone like-minded to "jump in" gives you a chance to collect your thoughts.
  • "Give in-- a little": Don't be afraid to concede a smaller point to win the larger argument. Besides, being agreeable can throw your opponent off-guard as well.
  • "Stay Calm and Polite": As Masters explains, "If you are smiling it will leave the person with a positive impression." And luckily they cannot hear your thoughts.

Remember, injecting humor into a situation with a pithy saying or a witty retort, maintaining relationships with like-minded people, being willing to concede on the small stuff, and remembering to take conflict in stride will help you maintain relationships as you build a stronger business.

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