Monday, November 15, 2010

Effective conversation enders

My post on today.

Pick-up lines, introductions and ice-breakers have long received a sizeable amount of limelight. There are numerous books, articles and speeches by professionals documented on the subject. It's been discussed to death really. They're hyped and overrated if you ask me. But have you ever noticed that the world around you is filled with 'effective conversation enders'?

Ever heard of that guy who brought up his ex's handcuffs within seconds of meeting a new girl. Or the guy who confided in his boss that all his friends were also going to be in Goa during the pricey conference he was attending. The guy who told an acquaintance at an outdoor event that he'd rolled deodorant on his face to beat the humid weather. The guy who requested a cop to spare him when caught speeding because he was woozy from happy hour. The guy who joked with his new investors that all his girlfriends believed he had commitment issues. Yup, the air around them was all that was left soon as those words made their way out of their mouths.

May be those incidents are a tad exaggerated. But surely we've all come across milder versions of conversation killers in day to day life. The dude in the seat next to you on a long flight who insists on showing you his kid's videos on his phone. The aggressive non-aunt lady who wouldn't spare your bachelorhood at the wedding as she begins to scout girls. Your girlfriend bringing up gory details about her girls night out.

The devil doesn't necessarily lie in the stories. I’m tempted to say that every anecdote has the potential of being interesting, just as long as it bumps into the right audience. There's always someone who'll appreciate it. Relate to it. Feel it. But with the wrong company, it can go awry faster than you can say awry – the Sarah Palin effect as I fondly refer to it. The hardest part is to do the match-ups between the story category and the audience category. A little common sense, a little sense of timing and a little empathy should save one from becoming a little story himself.

On the other hand, creative souls can use it to get themselves out of all kinds of less than ideal situations: a lousy blind date (“this new rash I’ve developed is really bothering me”), a boring social dinner (“I was just teaching your kid how to spell schmuck”), a dreary Lacrosse game with new vendors (“after the 3rd drink even I’m scared of me”) or a co-workers practice power point presentation (“a few offensive jokes about the boss equals a hit ppt”).

Whatever the situation, use some effective conversation killers and drop the bombs to your advantage to get out of it scot-free. Keep the guilt at bay (it’s just an harmless little lie) and always, always remember what you bluffed about.

Here is a link to the article on

1 comment:

Parul said...

I want a like button.