Day 4

Lessons from TEDxEroilor, Cluj-Napoca.


Or how I found I’m not such a good conversationalist.

And ways I found to improve it.

Today was about TEDx. An event I waited for too long to go to, just because I didn’t have the courage or the money to join this conference. This year, I gathered all my cells willing to make the move and bought myself a ticket. Impulsively.

My rational and full of fear side would have asked people that I know about going, would have wondered whether this is a good idea considering my so-called lack of social skills and other questions. Un-important questions.

So, this was the great day. That day. I put on my outfit, that was prepared on the chair since yesterday and headed to the center of the city, where the conference was hold. Ironically, but finally an almost good thing that happened was that a close friend of mine was also going, so we were in this together. I realized the value of her presence only when I arrived there.

She knows people. She is the kind of person that has a lot of acquitances, friends from the university, from NGOs and other kinds of activities. I was glad she was there, I had the perfect opportunity to meet new people, talk, share ideas and opinions. My favorite part of the day, finding arguments for my ideas and trying to find flaws in others’ just to help improving them.

All well you would say. Why the heck am I even here talking about lacking social skills since I was perfectly able to talk to those people, maybe throw a (bad) joke or two. But not as bad as you and I would expect things to go. I could say I was impressed by myself and if it wasn’t for the crowd I would have given myself a high-five.

Until I have seen myself defenseless in front of my … lack of social skills when I was to talk to people I didn’t know. Me? Starting a conversation? You must be drunk, young lady!

As you can imagine from this story, I don’t have problems talking to people. I love talking to people and lately I discovered I enjoy hearing stories, giving advice or just listen to someone that inspires me without knowing it.

But I do have problems. Or opportunities for improvement, that’s what I want to call them from now on. And I’m sure some of you also have this kind of issue:

Being able to talk, but fearing that you can’t ask the good question to keep the conversation flowing.

With all those things in my mind, I started wandering there. In my mind.

Okay, darling. You’re not stupid, that’s for sure. So, firstly, what is your problem exactly?
And I came up with this list:

  • I don’t know what to say beyond that hello
  • I am awful at trying to find good questions
  • I am not that interesting (even tough I’d like to think of myself as so)
  • I have nothing to offer.

After this came the other thought. Okay, still not stupid so, why not browse in that library of your mind and just put together a guide or some tips and tricks. What would you say to a friend of yours? What kind of advice you would give?

Oh, that’s simple.

  • people love to talk about themselves, just give them the oportunity
  • you don’t care what people think of you, trust me. So just dive in and say it
  • ask for an opinion or help, as you learned there and there.
  • remember your father, he always treated everybody with respect and admiration. You can learn from that.
  • be fearless.

I seem to suck at giving advice when it regards me, firstly. I’m not saying it is terrible or useless. For some people it might not be. But for me, at that moment, they were of no real help.

Laptop on the table, my hands writing frenetically.

How to start a conversation.

YouTube. Yes, YouTube. Because that’s my great source of inspiration and advice since I love the visual aspect of teaching and learning. I find it easier to learn when I can see people’s face and scroll through the comment section during the video.

So, this is for extroverts turning into small lambs when it comes to starting conversations. And for introverts, too.

I enjoyed listening to this guy because he has a nice presence, to keep it simple. I love how he talks about this in such a manner that you understand it. Kind of like talking to children — which I am, regarding this topic — but without making you feel stupid. For the record, this guy teaches English.

The second video, two persons. Not as good as the first one, but good enough for what it says it does. It starts a conversation and with some imagination I believe all of us can come up with our own way of talking to somebody new.

I need to say I do not intend to market these people and I’m not an associate or anything. I just found the clips interesting and good to share with people that have the same problem as I do.

That being said…

What was the best part of your day?
Mine was learning about myself and self-imposed limits.