Recently I read, The Art of Talking to Anyone by Rosalie Maggio (McGraw-Hill, 2005). Being an introvert I tend to read these sorts of books from time to time in the hope of finding some ideas that will turn me into a scintillating conversationalist! (Probably not going to happen!) The problem with these types of books is that they are written by extraverts for extraverts and consequently don’t address the problems introverts often face in conversations. About 20 years ago I had someone say to me, “You don’t volunteer much, do you?” I was stunned; it hadn’t occurred to me that I was supposed to volunteer something. My mind was thinking, you mean you want me to say something? What would you like me to say? I had no idea, so of course, I didn’t say anything which seemed to confirm this person’s conviction—nope, she doesn’t volunteer much.

So I read these types of books in order to figure out what it is I’m supposed to volunteer. This particular book is jammed packed with practical suggestions and examples of things to say as well as more general advice. I did pick up some helpful thoughts and ideas. The book covers a wide range of conversational situations from business meetings to romantic encounters. It includes not only things to say but things you should not say and what to do if you accidentally say them. Plus there are ways to start and end conversations and most things in between.

There is a short section entitled; Do you fail to finish your sentences? This unfortunately is something I often do. I get half way through a sentence and I’m suddenly attacked by two (or more) different thoughts jumping into my brain at the same time. I don’t know which thought to go with so I stop mid-sentence. By the time I’ve decided which thought I want to run with someone has taken the conversation somewhere else. (If anyone else has this problem and has managed to solve it please let me know, actually if anyone else simply has this problem let it know. It would be encouraging to know, I’m not alone!) This section in the book is sadly lacking any helpful advice apart from don’t do it. Otherwise though, the book is full of good advice and suggestions.