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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 dating? 

If you're like most single people it's usually rooted in your communication skills or more precisely, the lack thereof. 

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 abstraction. 

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.


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Communication Skills Ideas for a First Date

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 abstractly:


1.  What is the chair an example of

2.  What are examples of a chair

3.  What else performs the same function


These three 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 example.


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 with. 


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, isn't it?


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, Communications Expert
David Parnell - Communication Expert

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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Cougar Love Dating Expert, April Braswell, Greg Dougall, Newport Beach, Royal Thai
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Dating Expert, April Braswell, with Bold Calling Sales Trainer, Steve Chambers, Mo's San Diego, CA
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