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How can I have better professional conversations?

I'm a pretty good talker between friends and in casual settings but haven't really had a chance to flex my professional speaking skills. In terms of future internship employers and professors, what are some good, non invasive topics to carry easy conversation?
#professional-development #public-speaking #conversion-optimization

Hi Erykah- I would recommend: Informational Interviews & Public Speaking. Informational interviews are a great way to learn how people in your profession speak and the terminology they use. Talk to people who work in jobs that are interesting and ask about how they got there and what they do. Listen and copy their language when you speak to others. It's also great way to network and find internships; even if they can't help you, they may know someone who can. Regarding public speaking, finding opportunities speak in front of groups of people helps you learn about your communication style and how to improve. School clubs might be a good fit, but there are also local chapters of a group called "Toastmasters International" which are very popular in some communities. Good luck! Rachael Candee Sample

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Austin’s Answer

Erykah, interesting question. Being able to talk and interact with people professionally, and different types of people in general in professional setting, is often an overlooked vital characteristic trait. Being able to talk an interact with people is important because on a minutely basis you will be talking to someone in a professional setting. While it may seem like a daunting task, don't sweat it; the more your treat professional conversations like a casual one, the better off you will be. What I mean by this is that the more you treat professional conversations as special and high-stress, the more anxious and pressured you will. Breathe, and behave as you normally would.

By this I don't swear and use really informal English, but don't treat these conversations as overly formal. IF you speak in a overly professional, scientific, awkward manner, the more you are going to creep out your coworkers and you probably will not be successfully in your conversations. I normally am a humorous person, and this does not change at work; sure I don't tell graphic dirty jokes at work, but I still use humor in my conversations. Practice will make perfect, talk to adults more, put yourself out in professional situations, and engage when you are in the workplace; the more you are in professional situations the better you will become in professional conversations.

Austin recommends the following next steps:

put yourself out there in professional situations
practice your professional talking skills by placing yourself in situations where you will encounter adults.

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Dallas’s Answer

The TED talk Stephanie recommended is informative and provides excellent suggestions. I would like to add that legitimately paying attention goes a long way and to treat whoever you are having a conversation with, with the same respect you would like to receive.

I would recommend avoiding politics and religion in conversations that take place in a professional or work setting. If the topics are unavoidable, remember that everyone is entitled to have their own opinion and beliefs, and remain respectful.

Topics that are usually safe to discuss include: How they got into the career/field they work in, or what their future plans are.

Most importantly, be respectful, don't judge, listen, be don't be afraid to apologize, and never intend offense.

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Stephanie’s Answer

Hi Erykah,

I agree with the advice so far! I found this TED Talk (11 minutes) might be interesting to watch:


It's called "10 ways to have a better conversation". Celeste Headlee talks about conversations with all kinds of people AND the importance of listening to others.

Hope you enjoy, be calm, be yourself, and you'll do well!


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Helaine’s Answer

Never be afraid to ask a question! I studied at Cornell and was very intimated by my professors. When I go back for alumni events that’s the first thing I tell the students. Remember: There are no wrong questions, but there are wrong answers. Good luck!