Can Work Life Flexibility Make You a Better Conversationalist?

Do people consider you shy and quiet? Laid back, chilled out, or the strong silent type?

istock_000005884410xsmall.jpgEver felt anxious, or maybe just unenthusiastic about conversing in a group? Sometimes, when we’re out mingling, we simply have nothing to say. We can’t talk about the way one of our family members drove us nuts on the phone last night. We don’t want to discuss all that dieting we’ve been doing, or that the gutters need cleaning.

The tense situation at work, and your grim state of financial affairs? Not appropriate for cocktail hour.

If you find yourself at a loss for words, it may be a sign of more than just shyness. In fact, maybe you’ve heard the expression “You need to get out more.” Some take that as an insult … but it’s actually excellent advice.

Think about the people you know who really shine in a social setting. They’re great storytellers, and they know how to instantly connect with others. And there’s also something else about them. They’ve got things to talk about! When you hear about their latest adventures, your life seems droll and monotonous in comparison. It’s depressing, right? So then change it!

Here are some activities you can partake in that are guaranteed to whet your appetite for conversation… and for living!

Fit a weekly movie into your schedule.

You don’t have to spring for a full-price ticket or the latest blockbuster. There’s plenty showing on cable, not to mention movie rentals and DVDs that you can add to your permanent collection. When was the last time you sat down (not fell asleep!) and really lost yourself in a great film? Or, how about a little variety? If you’re a comedy person, switch it up and watch whatever’s playing on the Independent Film Channel this week. Even if the movie turns out to be a bomb, you’ll have an opinion to express.

Hop in the car and just GO.

You don’t have to battle traffic into the big city… chances are there’s probably at least one quaint little town within a ten-mile radius that’s worth seeing. If the weather is nice, why not play hooky and just spend your day taking in the local culture? Even “Podunk” towns have historic landmarks and museums, curious folklore and other weird-isms that might make for good party chatter.

Attend a concert or show.

How many times have you sat next to someone who’s all about the latest broadway show, and you have no idea what they’re talking about? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Even if you think that something like opera wouldn’t be your cup of tea, it never hurts to just venture off the beaten path every now and again. You might pick up a new pastime… or, you might decide to tell everyone “I never want to hear another show tune for the rest of my life!” The point is, you won’t know until you try it out.

Jet off to another country for a week.

Have you always wanted to run barefoot through the rolling hills of Ireland? Dine in an outdoor cafe in Venice? Or, if going abroad is just too much to think about… how about Maryland or Cape Cod during the summer, California wine country, Las Vegas or the Deep South? Still too much? How about bed and breakfast down the shore or up in the mountains, any time of year? You can always find a deal online for air travel or lodging. Check out Travelocity or venture into your local travel agent’s office to find out what kind of rates you can get.

Do something you wouldn’t normally do.

Think that kayaking and river rafting is “over the top?” Or is sky diving the next step up for you? Figure out what you’d like to try out. Spelunking? Rock climbing? (Even if it’s the wall at the gym!) Find a buddy or bring together a small group and head out for a weekend adventure. Or even if you’re not the daredevil or nature buff type… just do something out of the ordinary like refurbishing an old, antique piece of furniture or fixing up a classic car. Who knows… your dabbling effort might just become a cherished hobby one day.

Not wanting to talk because you’re introverted is one thing. But have you ever thought that you’d have more to say if you learned to balance your life better? Work/life flexibilty is a challenge for most people. Our jobs and families take up the majority of our time, with social and personal responsibilities close on their heels. But when life becomes so monotonous that we have absolutely nothing to say… take that as a sign. It’s time to get out more!

Thanks to Sales Management 2.0 for including this article in the Carnival of Sales and Management, and to Tip Diva for featuring this post in the Carnival of Tips.

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