How to Use Reading to Improve Your Conversational Skills

Although reading has many obvious benefits, do you realize it can help you sharpen your conversational skills, too? If you feel anxious about attending a party or social gathering where you don’t know anyone, reading can bring you greater confidence.

You can impress people with your ability to carry on an interesting conversation because exposing yourself to new information through reading provides you with a plethora of subjects to talk about.

Try these strategies for using reading to improve your conversational skills:

  1. Scan the headlines. When reading your morning newspaper, look over the headlines and titles first.
    • Whether you get the paper delivered to your house or read the local news online, look over all the article headings. Upon finding a subject that appeals to you, read the article. What do you think about it? Is there anything the article left out? Do you trust the reporting?
    • If you believe a topic is interesting and have more questions about it, chances are good that others will, too.
  2. Read articles and books that interest you. If you already find the subject matter fascinating, you’ll be more likely to remember it once you read it. It just makes good sense to hone in on information or stories that you find fascinating to share in conversations.
  3. Take note of topics that are currently trending. Popular and current subjects give you a good idea of what people are talking about. If you read those types of news articles, you’ll definitely have something of interest to share with others.
    • Plus, trending topics are constantly updated, so expect to learn a little more each day over the life of a trend. If one topic in particular has been covered repeatedly in the news lately, you’ve discovered a subject that others will probably enjoy discussing.
  4. Read a variety of material. A great way to start a verbal exchange with someone is to mention a book you’ve read lately. Books from the top 10 lists of bookstores and publishers make great fodder for conversation, regardless of whether they’re fiction or non-fiction.
  5. Formulate an opinion. Know your own feelings and ideas regarding a particular subject you read about. Although it’s helpful to be able to describe facts from an article, you’ll have an even richer conversation if you add in your thoughts, ideas and experiences related to the subject matter.
  6. Inject topics you read about into your conversations. Use the subjects you read about recently to start a verbal exchange. For example, let’s say it’s Saturday night and you just arrived at a friend’s party. You’re looking around and notice you don’t see many familiar faces. You feel a niggling sense of nervousness while wondering what you’ll say to the other partygoers.
    • But then, you recall that story you read in the newspaper this morning about the new museum your city is going to build. Most people that live in your town will want to know about that.
  7. Sit back and listen to others. Pay attention to conversations going on around you. Someone might mention a subject you just read about.
  • Ask people what they think about a particular story or character in the book.
  • Others will contribute thoughts, ideas and reactions to the subject matter that differ greatly from your own. An important part of conversing is listening and allowing reciprocation by the other person.

Reading is an effective method of gathering and storing information to talk about at the next social gathering you attend. A person who is well-read can be great entertainment at get-togethers and provide plenty of grist for some titillating conversations.

Although reading is wonderful all on its own, using it to easily strengthen your conversational skills brings you even more rewards.

Getting to Know Your Children as Individuals

Raising children is one of the most fulfilling experiences in life. As with most parents, you probably feel very close to your children, because after all, they’re a part of you. Parents tend to see their own children as extensions of themselves. Of course, this is true to a certain extent.

However, it’s also important to recognize that your children are also individuals. Regardless of their maturity levels, your children are “budding” adults, interesting and evocative in their own special ways. Even very young children have their own wants, preferences, and sense of self.

As children grow and thrive, they develop their own interests. For example, you might have a son who loves to finger-paint and a daughter who prefers drawing. One child takes particular pleasure in riding bikes while another would much rather sit and read a book.

To raise children with healthy self-esteem, it’s a good idea to allow children the emotional space to express themselves. If you encourage your children to be themselves, they’ll grow and bloom into fascinating, independent human beings.

Try these activities to get to know and appreciate your children as individuals:

1. Spend one-on-one time with them. Allow them to choose what activity to share or game to play. Observing your kids as you play together is a fun way to learn who your child really is.

2. Listen. Although you most likely do a fair amount of talking to your kids, the other side of it is to listen very carefully to what your children have to say. Children make concerted efforts to talk about what they like, and when they talk about what they like, they’re sharing what’s important to them.

* When you know what’s relevant to your kids, then you’re truly getting to know them.

* Establishing easy communication early will help make the teenage years go more smoothly.

3. Initiate conversations about their interests. Inquire what happened today on your child’s favorite television show. Again, listen intently to how your child conceptualizes what occurred.

* Take the time to engage with your kids each day, regardless of their age.

4. Invite your child to play “house” with you. Allow them to decide who will “be” the mom, dad, brother, sister, or other members of the family.

* Encourage them to set up the situation however they like. They might even act out something they’ve seen you do at home.

* Playing house with your children encourages them to express themselves, which helps you really get to know them while enhancing their self-esteem.

5. Give your child choices. When children are allowed to choose, their choices show something about them as people. You can learn about your children by noticing the choices they make.

* For younger children, set it up so they can choose from 2 activities: for example, take a walk to get ice cream or go play miniature golf.

One of the most enriching experiences you’ll ever have as a parent is getting to know your children as individuals. Try some of these strategies to draw out your child’s personality. As your children grow, you’ll learn more and more about who they are.

Improve Your Powers of Concentration

Improving your powers of concentration will help you get more done in less time. Below are some of the major benefits of developing your ability to focus as well as some practical steps for achieving extreme concentration.

The Benefits of Improved Concentration:

1.      Be more productive. By devoting your full attention to whatever you’re doing at the moment, you’ll produce better quality work in less time. It really is this simple!

2.      Be a better friend. Conversations are more pleasant if you feel like others are really listening to you. Paying attention to others will help you appreciate your family and friends, and understand how to support them when they need it.

3.      Feel more peaceful. Many studies have found that multitasking makes people slower and less effective at performing various tasks. Trying to do too many things at once can cause stress and make you feel less alert. By contrast, focusing on one thing helps to calm your mind.

Training Your Mind To Concentrate:

1.      Focus on one thing at a time. Place your mind on whatever you’re doing in the present moment. Think about how you act when you’re engrossed in a thrilling movie or a new romance and try to duplicate that experience. If you don’t feel passionate about a particular task, look for some meaningful aspect or motivate yourself with the desire to complete it in less time.

2.      Abandon distracting thoughts. Your mind will wander. Remain aware of your thoughts. When you notice a distracting thought, decline to pursue it. Return your attention to your chosen object. Repeat this as often as necessary. With practice, it will get easier.

3.      Meditate. To enhance your progress, try meditating. Sit and focus on your breath or spiritual attainments. You can extend that mindfulness to all your daily activities from eating lunch to playing with your children.

Other Steps to Improve Concentration:

1.      Minimize external distractions. Your restless mind is probably the greatest distraction, but a controlled environment can help too. Turn off your phone and wait until later to check your email. Clear off your desk. If you can’t find a quiet spot, consider using white noise recordings, instrumental music, or earplugs.

2.      Get fully engaged in what you’re doing. It’s easier to focus when you’re actively involved. Take notes in class. Highlight passages while you read. Think about questions you want to ask a speaker. Invent ways to improve a routine household chore.

3.      Vary your activities. While you’re increasing your attention span, it may be helpful to switch from one activity to another to remain alert. So if you feel stuck writing a report, go return some phone calls for a while – you’ll feel rejuvenated when you come back to the report.

4.      Plan regular breaks. Taking breaks can improve your performance. Chat with your co-workers or walk around the block. Reward yourself with an activity you enjoy after completing a difficult project. Just standing up from time to time is refreshing because it helps your brain get more oxygen.

5.      Avoid overloading your schedule. Budgeting your time realistically can make it easier to concentrate. You’ll be less likely to get distracted by worries about getting everything done. If you’re chronically overloaded, you may need to adjust your priorities.

6.      Take care of your health. Your physical health affects all your mental functioning. Get adequate sleep and rest. Maintain a healthy weight by eating a nutritious diet and getting daily exercise.

Your ability to focus will improve with practice. As you learn to concentrate more fully, you’ll enjoy greater peace of mind and productivity.