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Mother to Daughter: Mastering the Art of Verbal Communication

Woman to Woman

Robert Provine, professor of neurobiology and psychology at the University of Maryland says that laughter is really about communicating. "Laughter is part of the universal human vocabulary…." A laugh may help smooth things out in a conversation as a punctuation or cover an awkward moment. Furthermore, women tend to laugh more with women and men more with men.

How you communicate affects all of your relationships. A good conversationalist needs to know when to talk, when to listen, how to talk, what to say, and what not to say. It is helpful in this endeavor to get the fundamentals down first. Keep these points in mind the next time you sit down for a chat:

  • Respect the other person's right to privacy and their boundaries.
  • Make a concerted, conscious effort to listen objectively and understand thoroughly.
  • Try to partake in an equal exchange; a conversation is a dialogue not a monologue.
  • Do not interrupt and allow the other person to finish speaking.
  • Do not use words that are accusatory, threatening, demanding, critical, or full of blame.
  • Be aware of how your mother or daughter listens and adjust your style.
  • Use humor to break the tension.
  • Control you facial expressions.
  • Listen to yourself; you don't want to sound intrusive.
  • Don't lecture or chastise.
  • Sound positive.
  • Determine the best time and place to talk; consider a relaxed atmosphere like a special lunch, outing, walk, or drive in the car.
  • Remember that it's not necessary to draw everything out into a full-blown discussion; unless you sort out the inconsequential issues, you may dilute the importance of the big ones.

How to Refine Your Listening Skills

You can't partake in the art of conversing unless you also know how to listen. So, let's make sure that we all know what it means to be a good listener. A good listener…

  • Walks away with new information.
  • Doesn't do all of the talking.
  • Speaks when the other person stops talking.
  • Asks questions pertinent to the other person's remarks.
  • Opens her mind.
  • Puts herself in the other person's shoes.
  • Doesn't listen defensively.
  • Demonstrates to the speaker she has heard what has been said.
  • Discerns from the content of the conversation, their mother's or daughter's emotional intent.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mothers and Daughters © 2001 by Rosanne Rosen. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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