Why Practice Really Does Make Perfect
As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” Although this quote may be cliche and overused, it holds true. If you wish to perfect a specific skill, you must practice it. Practicing is the only way to get better, for you can see your mistakes firsthand and document them in order to correct them so that they don’t happen again. Strengthening your conversation skills through practice is key in helping you build relationships that can only benefit you later in life.
One of my classmates, James Stenzel, also seems to believe in the idea of practice. In his blog post “Repetition and Practice makes Perfect”, he states that “Repetition and practice are driving factors of success.” In other words, if you wish to be successful at your current job or craft then you must practice again and again to improve your skills. Once practice becomes an everyday part of your life, you will begin to master your expertise. I was encouraged by James’ words and decided to test out his repetition theory. I began to start up conversations with random students whenever and wherever I saw fit. Whether it was in the elevator, on line to get food, at the library or on the STAMPEDE bus, I started every conversation the same: “Hi, how are you doing today?” Most people gave me welcoming and positive answers, which then sparked conversation. I would try and relate myself to them the best I could, and see if they picked up on the fact that I was interested in what they had to say. Most did, and tried to relate back to me as a result. After each conversation I got better at finding ways to relate to the person I was talking to, which made the conversations easier to engage in.
These conversations I shared with fellow UB students made me realize that the topics of conversation varied and were not always what I wanted to talk about. I used Ronald Wardhaugh’s book How conversation works to see if I could get tips on how to control the topic of conversation. I didn’t find any direct tips but instead found the quote “If the topic of a converation is not explicitly stated-and it usually is not-how do the participants know what it is? The answer appears to be that they must infer it from what is being said, and each participant must do the inferring for himself or herself.” I now realized that the person I was talking to was in the same boat as me. We were both trying to identify the topic but were having difficulties. Most conversations were small talk, so inferring wasn’t always happening in our talks. I’m excited to practice this technique of inferring in future conversations because I believe understanding the topic can help me to contribute to the conversation in a way that makes it more enjoyable for my interlocutor and I.
James Stenzel’s “Repetition and Practice makes Perfect” — https://medium.com/jstenzel/repetition-and-practice-makes-perfect-c5ee1bede9f0
Wardhaugh, R. (1995). How conversation works. Oxford, NY: Blackwell.
Picture from: Michelle Mazur > March 1, 2012. (2012, March 01). Tips for Practicing Presentations | Relationally Speaking | Michelle Mazur. Retrieved October 01, 2017, from https://drmichellemazur.com/2012/03/practice-presentation-speech.html