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Conversation Guide for Older Children

by James D. MacDonald

For me, conversations are the best part of my life. That's when I enjoy people and learn the most. Here are a few things I've learned to make conversations improve my life.

* FIND OUT WHAT YOUR PARTNER IS INTERESTED IN, then talk about that.

* SAY SOMETHING ONCE THEN WAIT for your partner to have his say.

* LOOK IN YOUR PARTNER'S FACE when talking to him.

* LEARN TO READ YOUR PARTNER'S FACE to see if he is interested or not in what you are saying.

* IF YOU PARTNER DOESN'T LOOK INTERESTED, let him talk or say something new.

* If someone doesn't understand you, TRY SAYING IT AGAIN; you can probably say it clearer the second time.

* If someone still doesn't understand you, SAY SOMETHING ELSE.

* ASK OTHERS FOR HELP in keeping the conversation going longer.

* Sometimes, TELL PEOPLE YOU CAN TALK, if they think you can't.

* BE SURE NOT TO DO ALL THE TALKING; stop and wait for your partner to have his say.

* FIND FRIENDS TO HAVE FREQUENT CONVERSATIONS WITH.

* Avoid saying the same thing over and over; SAY NEW THINGS.

* SAY ONE THING then let your partner take a turn.

* AVOID MONOLOGUES. Monologues happen when one person does all the talking.

* DO THINGS TOGETHER WITH PEOPLE then talk about that.

* TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS with friends you trust.

* REALIZE THAT YOU KNOW A LOT; let people know that through conversations.


James D. MacDonald has been a Clinician and researcher with children with language disorders since 1968. He was Professor of Speech/Language Pathology and Director of the Parent-Child Communication Clinic at the Nisonger Center, Ohio State University for five years. He has directed the Communicating Partners Center in Columbus, Ohio since 1995. Dr. MacDonald's website is http://www.jamesdmacdonald.org.

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