Communication Skills in Dating
Taking That First Date from Dreadful to Delightful
by David J. Parnell
David J. Parnell is a communications and sales expert in the New York Tri-State area.Here he
provides his communication skills in the personal relationship sphere for singles courting, especially on that
all-important first date.
Dating. That First Date.
What's the worst part about
If you're like most
single people it's usually rooted in your communication skills or more precisely, the lack
Just the thought of those
long awkward pauses on the first date hits you in the stomach with a ball of worry like it was shot from a
cannon. And who hasn't been there? Even the best of us have found ourselves
tongue-tied and unable to communicate at one time or another, whether it was on a first date, or somewhere
else. Now just addressing that it exists and agreeing that we all experience this at some point
offers little comfort.
So what were
going to do here today is give you a practical lesson and exercise for you to work on that is going to untie your
tongue like Houdini escaping from a poorly tied shoelace. Now unless you've studied
communication or semantics in particular you're probably not consciously aware that when human beings speak with
one another they represent subjects or objects at a particular level of
Now, you may be
asking what the heck a “level of abstraction” is. The abstraction level is basically the
specificity with which you are communicating about the subjects or objects of your conversation.
The spectrum of specificity goes from global or obtuse to finite or acute. Let me give you an
example, the universe would be considered obtuse. The world is a little less obtuse, the
continent of North America is a little less, then America, then a state, then a city, etc. I think you get the gist
of what I'm talking about.
Communication Skills Ideas for a First
Okay so how is
this going to help you while you're squirming over your drink? Well with what I'm about to teach
you, you will be able to take what ever it is that your date is talking about and USE this to create
conversation. With a little practice you will be able to instantly jump around the levels of
abstraction that surround your date’s subject matter and as result never be lost for words
again. Levels of abstraction can either go up, down or sideways and you can easily figure this
out with the three questions below. Let's use a chair for an example... Ask
yourself one of the three following questions in order to go up, down or sideways
1. What is the chair an example of
2. What are examples of a chair
3. What else performs the same function
questions will move the level of abstraction in your mind up, down and sideways, respectively.
So what is the chair an example of? Furniture. You moved up one level and now
you're able to talk about furniture. What is furniture an example of?
Household comforts. Now you've moved up another level of abstraction and you can talk about
household comforts. What else performs the function of providing household
comforts? Now you've moved laterally and can talk about other comfortable things in the
home. I think you get my drift… By following these three questions you can cognitively direct
your minds to come up with unlimited topics of discussion.
*Though this may
be an article for another time, I must highlight the term "discussion". This means
interaction… not dictatorship. Asking questions, receiving questions and getting and giving
answers… "Discussion" doesn't mean simply going from topic to topic, spilling out everything
that you know about that particular topic. Moving on...
So let's take an
example... I'm a man so unfortunately for you women I'm going to take this from a male's perspective so please bear
with me (I think the men probably need more help than the women anyway :-). Let's say that
you're sitting there talking to your date and she starts to talk to you about a great deal she just found on her
sweater. Now whether or not you're interested in the sweater really doesn't matter. What does matter is that you're
able to keep the flow of the conversation moving smoothly and without interruption so that she walks away from the
date “sans” the uncomfortable pauses. So let's work with the sweater as an
Ask yourself the
question "what is the sweater in example of" and see what you come up with. “Clothing,
outerwear, fashion, uncontrolled spending, etc...” Right there you have a least three things (we might want to
leave out uncontrolled spending) to ask questions about and engage her
A follow up to
her story may be "you seem pretty excited about the sweater, what do you like about fashion?" Or
"buying clothes is fun for you, isn't it? How do you decide what to buy?" And
let the conversation flow from there. When you feel like the conversation is starting to come to
another wall, grab some more subject matter and change the level of abstraction again with one of the three
questions above to start the whole process over again.
Now this may seem
a bit calculated, but the reality of the matter is that once you've done this a few times it is going to become
automatic. What will happen is that your conversational skills will increase exponentially and
make you much more likable. You’ll be on your way to being a professional communicator and that's a good thing,
As an exercise,
take a half an hour, three times a week for two weeks and simply jot down any object or subject that comes to
mind. Whether it's a car or, or a plane, or a park, or what ever…Just pick something and then
practice changing levels of abstraction with the three questions above to sharpen your mind.
This, just like any other skill can be quickly learned and implemented into your communication toolbox with just a
little bit of practice. Happy conversing…
David Parnell - Communication
Whether you are a sales person, an business executive, or a stay at
home mom, effective communication is paramount to your success, functionality and well being. For more information
please visit me at www.davidjparnell.comto learn more.
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