Monday, May 14, 2007

Makeover Monday: "make-up" your mind

Visual first-impressions are important and all, but I'm finding that the "first-impression" clincher for me is the first few things I hear come out of someone's mouth.
What kind of impression am I making when I open my mouth? What realm are my thoughts in and how does that affect those things I say?
Unfortunately a large part of being a mother to small children involves functioning on a superficial level. Survival, fight-or-flight kind of stuff. But if I let my mind dwell on that level uninterrupted, I'm afraid my speech will reflect that and I will come across as a lot duller than the person I flatter myself to be.

I had a moment alone with one of Mr Renn's classmates last week and could not muster one intelligible utterance about my life. I was so caught up with taking care of Sir O, that once he was removed from me for a few minutes I could barely function (whilst Sir O himself was just fine.... eating cheerios on a bench in the mall with his dad). Said classmate tried awfully hard to stimulate a friendly discussion and I was just not able to hold up my end. I felt naked without my baby in front of me, shielding me from the attention of the world.

Not good.

Working this week on speaking more assertively (and intelligently), making eye contact, and forming complete sentences with good use of all the idioms of speech. There's nothing more attractive than a keen mind. And I know I have one in here somewhere......


Anonymous said...

This is something that I often worry about with myself. I am the type of person that is slow to warm up to people so I know that I don't always put my best foot forward. I read a book once that talked about how the first 5 minutes you spend with a person sets the tone for the type of relationship you will have with them. It even applies to each time you have contact with that person, setting the tone for that particular interaction. I figure I can be really aware of myself and the other person for 5 minutes and then allow myself to relax into the conversation after that. I am sure that this will be something that I continue to work on for a long time to come.

aLi said...

Hi Em, I've often had this problem, too. When I was younger, like 16-ish I asked my mom how the heck she had conversations that were 30 minutes long, "Easy," she said, "just ask THEM questions. You will find that people will not even know the difference, and they will LOVE to talk to you." Of course, because they're talking about themself.
I also read in a book by Emily Post about conversations, and she said the exact same thing. If you are in a scary situation and you have nothing to say, start with something simple like, "Where are you from?" And it usually will get the ball rolling.
Don't ask a question that will take a long time answering if you don't want to be there for a while, like, "So, what do you think about so and so with such and such politics?" get the drift?
I have found that to be so true. I myself am not big on holding up conversations by myself so I find myself doing this all the time. Works like a charm. Oh, and don't worry about saying something stupid. Just stop, look, and listen (like railroad tracks ;) ). Stop what you're saying, look, or think about what you're going to say, then say it, and listen to their response. (of course it's easier said than done.)

Aubrey said...

I feel the same way. I think I spend so much time at work (police dept) asking people questions and trying to pick the important information out the long stories everyone wants to tell. I have gotten quite good at cutting people off and keeping them to the topic of what is NECESSARY for the police to know...but I have noticed I have started doing that in everyday conversations. I can't stand long conversations, I find my mind wandering when people don't get to the point. I used to LOVE just sitting around taking to people and anymore I find it tedius, like I could be doing something more productive. This is something I really need to work on as well...being more open, friendly and approachable when it comes to everyday conversations.

samunwritten said...

I definitely agree. I recently find myself coming across much less eloquent as I would like.
I went on a blind date this week and found myself having to work hard for interesting conversation at times.
I feel like it's been a long time since I've had to converse in length with someone that I don't know already. I go to work and I can talk fine with the people around me, I don't have to talk much at all with the people on the phone, and when I leave, I only interact with friends and family. All of whom I've known for years.
I need to work on that.

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