10 Ways to Make Conversation Easier When You’re Struggling with Social Interaction | Caroline Maguire


Juggling the many aspects of a two-way conversation can be difficult for people with ADHD.

Sometimes we talk and talk without really engaging with the other person.

We talk to them rather than with them, and then we experience shame, embarrassment and rumination – replaying the interaction for days.

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What is a reciprocal conversation?

When two or more parties engage in back-and-forth communication that develops into larger and larger conversations, it’s called a reciprocal conversation and it tends to benefit both parties.

This give-and-take, back-and-forth type of commitment allows an exchange with the aim of obtaining mutual benefit.

8 parts of a reciprocal conversation

1. Approach the person.

Face them and stand about an arm’s length away.

2. Look for signs that tell you that you can start a conversation.

If they’re talking to someone else, it’s good to wait until they’re done. A sign that they are ready may include looking at you.

You can also start by asking a question, such as “How are you?” Everyone loves to share their story.

3. Start the conversation.

First, say “Hello” and say his first name, if you know it.

For example, “Hi Mike”. Follow this with something general, such as “How are you?” or “Good to see you.” If you’re talking to an adult or elderly person, consider saying “hello” instead.

4. Take turns.

Listen to their input, answer their questions and allow them to answer yours.

5. Check if they are interested.

Ask questions to help engage the other person.

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6. Talk about mutual interests.

Try talking about things you know the other person likes as well as things you like. For example, video games, TV series, sports, etc. are easy to approach.

Avoid saying things that may make the other person uncomfortable or hurt their feelings.

7. Tell a tight story so people can tell what you’re trying to convey to them.

Use notable phrases that can help you focus, get to the point, and keep others interested.

8. End the conversation.

To calm things down, you can say something like, “It was nice chatting with you, but I have to run. Saying that before you go lets you wrap things up.

How to manage elements of a reciprocal conversation

It can sometimes seem daunting to manage all aspects of a two-way conversation.

Here’s a big tip: Work on one piece at a time. Don’t expect all the rooms to be the way you want them to be, at least not at first.

Assess where you stand, what’s in between and where do you want to go?

Tell a tighter story.

An essential part of telling a more accurate story is to avoid monologues. When trying to make a story more specific, it’s important to focus on the key details people need to know.

Ask yourself, “What does John need to know about this story?”

To help you focus and stay on track, a few short sentences are meant to sum up your message and speed things along.

These comments help you skip unnecessary details and help you tell the person what you want them to know about your story.

For example, if I describe how I became a coach or why our holidays were stressful, I adapt my message according to the audience.

Then I might use one (or more) of these sentences to wrap up and keep the story on track.

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Here are 10 phrases you can use to move the conversation forward.

1. “Taken together…”

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2. “Summarize…”

3. “To fast forward…”

4. “In short…”

5. “Jump to the end…”

6. “In a nutshell…”

7. “To be brief…”

8. “When all is said and done…”

9. “At the end of the day…”

10. “Let me cut to the chase…”

Why bother having conversations?

The ability to connect and inspire is a basic human need. In showing respect for our audience, it is essential to learn the essential skills of being a good storyteller. The ability to listen and empathize is just as important.

Good and open communication is the key to all healthy relationships. You can also start by asking a question, such as “How are you?” Everyone loves to share their story.

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Caroline Maguire, M.Ed., ACCG, PCC founded and facilitates a comprehensive SEL training methodology (#ConnectionMatters) for adults, parents, clinicians and academic professionals on how to develop social, emotional and behavioral skills criticism, in themselves and in others. For more information, visit its website.

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This article originally appeared on carolinemaguireauthor.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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