Conversation techniques – Part III
Situation 7 – Conversation between an young man and an young woman over the telephone
(You are Mahesh and you wish to speak with your friend Ramanan on telephone)
(You come to know straightway that the voice is that of a woman. You can’t guess her age also. Possibly a college going maiden.)
Mahesh: Hm…. Er … hm.. Good morning, I wish to speak with Ramanan. Please.
Other: Oh Ramanan. He is my cousin. Could you please wait till he comes. I think he is in the toilet. Shall send a word across to him. May I know who is on the line?
Mahesh: Mahesh. Ramanan is my classmate, you see? Will he take long?
Other: Don’t know? I believe he spends quite a while when he goes in for a bath.
Mahesh: Does he also sing inside the bathroom?
Other:Yes, he does. That’s what Aunty tells me.
Mahesh:Well, I have known him as a ‘bathroom singer’. Hah.. hah.
Mahesh:You didn’t tell me… tell me…. your name..
Other: I am Shalini. Ramanan’s cousin sister.
Mahesh: Are you on a visit to Chennai?
Shalini: Yes, I am. I am actually from Pune.
Mahesh: Oh Pune? It’s quite far from Chennai, isn’t it?
Shalini:Yes, it is. But it’s just some 24 hours away.
Mahesh:What you doing,…. …. Miss Shalini? You won’t mind me asking that personal
Shalini: Oh not at all. I am in my final year BA Psychology in Wadia college.
Mahesh:Oh, how nice. Ramanan and I are in second year. I am sure Ramanan would
have told you.
Shalini: No, I am afraid not. I arrived just last evening.
Ah, here is Ramanan. He is still wiping his head with his towel. Talk to him.
Mahesh :Bye. Nice talking with you Miss. Shalini.
Ramanan:Hi, Mahesh. How are you?
1.See how dignified Mahesh is when he is talking with a lady. Some young men treat young women as dirt. Wrong. Treat everyone with respect. And don’t take undue liberty also with the fair sex. For instance, you can’t ask any personal questions about the other like, how old are you, do you like movies, what is your pastime activity etc. Here, when Mahesh enquires with a sentence, “What you doing Miss Shalini” he also gives his apology. True, this is not a very offensive question. Yet, it amounts to a personal question.
2.Mahesh addresses the lady as Miss. Shalini. This is the correct way. Don’t take any liberty with strangers. Be very formal always in the beginning.
3.Some telephone users have a bad habit of saying, “please wait” and vanish away. This is wrong. Any waiting time on a telephone should be just a few seconds. If the caller has to wait for a longer time, always suggest that the other ring back or you would ask Ramanan to ring the caller back.
4.See how Mahesh has framed his question – You didn’t tell me your name. This is a very polite sentence, isn’t it? To ask, “May I know who you are” or “May I know with whom I am talking” etc at this late stage would have sounded odd. Hence a novel way.
5.Even if the person at the other end is a small girl or boy, you must talk with much courtesy and politeness. Never be bossy. All your character and school/college learning would become obvious to the other by the way you conduct yourself on a telephone.
Situation 8 – Conversation between two unknown school students of different sex
This is a scene in a college premises where a number of students have gone in hoping for a seat in Arts or Science groups. Both sexes are present. James is from a first rate English medium school where he had finished his +2. He is keen on taking Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Computer science group. No one seems to know each other since all are from different High schools. James feels that he needs to meet some students and shouldn’t’ stand idle ignoring the presence of other students especially the lady students. Let’s see how James manages the situation.
James (addresses a lady student) :Good morning, I am sure, you have come for admission like me. Right?
Girl: …………. Y– e —- s
James : You must be from a Convent school. Am I right or not?
Girl : Indeed, I am. How did you guess?
James: Well. First, you are very smart; standing upright and looking straight. And of course you have a charming face.
Girl : What else?
James: While all the other girls are in Salwar Kameez, you are in a saree. A saree suits you very well.
Girl : OK. I am Sheila. I am from St. Philomena’s convent.
James: Isn’t it wonderful? I am James, James Vasanthan. I am from St. Paul’s Matriculation and Higher secondary school.
Sheila: Oh, St Paul’s from, Madhavaram?
James : Yes.
1.Sheila is initially a very shy and cold girl as well. Most girls are so in India and in most of the developing countries as well possibly. A sentence such as “You must be from a convent…” has energized her. All of us are proud of our work place, school/college, residence etc. And we love to talk about it. So, Sheila livens up immediately. And to keep the conversation going, James gives another compliment about her personality. Won’t all of us love to hear something good about our looks, intelligence, dress etc? And here, Sheila wants to hear more accolades and says “what else?” See the way James praises her – all subdued and nothing loud at all. One could overstep here. Don’t. Too much flattering may back fire. Sheila is naturally impressed with the young man and she volunteers more information about herself. Imagine a girl revealing her name to a stranger. At this stage, James has won her over.
2. With the same sex , follow the same method. Praise the other in modest terms and he will begin to talk. Further, throw a question at him and that’s the way to keep a conversation going. Don’t say anything personal. For instance any question such as, “How many sister have you, are they all grown up, married?” etc. All questions and compliments must be most modest and innocuous.
3. So, next time you come across a fair sex, don’t run way. Hang on and start a conversation. And you know the trick of how to get it going.