http://www.myaspergers.net Helping Aspergers Adults Discover Specialized Tools for Meaningful Connection Tue, 08 Mar 2016 12:00:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thrive with Aspergers is where neurodiverse Aspergers men (and women) come to learn from dating and professional performance coaches, marriage and family experts, entrepreneurs, and peers, with a focus on balancing both neurodiverse and neurotypical viewpoints. Friendship, dating, marriage, living a rich single life; living with autism; life hacks for work and career advancement; and personal growth development strategies to help you live your best personal and work life. Steve Borgman: Blogger, Connector, Curator clean Steve Borgman: Blogger, Connector, Curator [email protected] [email protected] (Steve Borgman: Blogger, Connector, Curator) Thrive With Aspergers Relationship and Dating Advice | Work | Life Hacks Discover These Secrets of Conversational Skill – Thrive With Aspergershttp://www.myaspergers.net/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/Thrive_with_Aspergers_Podcast_Artwork-898.png http://www.myaspergers.net TV-G Discover These Secrets of Conversational Skill http://www.myaspergers.net/what-is-aspergers/discover-these-secrets-of-conversational-skill/ http://www.myaspergers.net/what-is-aspergers/discover-these-secrets-of-conversational-skill/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 13:00:35 +0000 Stephen Borgman http://www.myaspergers.net/?p=1266 The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.  ~Dorothy Nevill Career, dating, marriage, and friendships all depend on conversation for success. Yet conversational skill often eludes people on the autism spectrum. Recently, Alex Plank put […]

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The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.  ~Dorothy Nevill

conversational skill

Career, dating, marriage, and friendships all depend on conversation for success.

Yet conversational skill often eludes people on the autism spectrum.

Recently, Alex Plank put together a video with Dr. Liz Laugeson, director of the PEERS center.

This video gives you a step by step tutorial for joining a social circle and making friends in a group.

Here are some steps for honing your conversational skill:

This method of joining and leaving conversations is based on an “ecologically valid model.”  This is another way of saying that this is what people who are naturally gifted do in social situations.

Approaching The Conversation

Eavesdrop

Listen to the conversation you want to join from a distance.  Most teens with autism, when they enter a conversation, tend to say something completely unrelated to the topic being discussed.  Instead, they tend to talk about their specialized interest/s, without regard to what the current topic of conversation is.

The people conversing will then perceive that person as butting in, talking off topic, and being intrusive.  And they will then tend to feel puzzled and annoyed, and confused about why you’re in the conversation.

So make sure, after you hear what the conversation’s topic is about, that you know something about the topic.

Hints for Eavesdropping

You’ve heard many people tell you to look others in the eye when you’re talking to them.  But when you haven’t yet joined a conversation, you don’t want to make eye contact.  Instead, make casual, periodic eye contact.

Use a prop, like your phone, iPod, or a book.  Look up every once in a while and gaze toward the direction of people in the group, but don’t stare.

Wait For A Pause In The Conversation

People don’t like being  interrupted, so if you enter during a pause in the conversation, you’ll be showing respect and grace.

The trick, per Dr. Laugeson, is that there is not always a perfect pause.  You’re bound to do well, however, just because you’re aware of the need to wait for a pause.

Once you notice a pause, move a bit closer and join the conversation.

Joining The Conversation

Once you join the conversation, make a comment or ask a question that’s on topic.

Assess Whether You Have Been Accepted Into The Conversation

Once you’ve made a couple of comments, or asked a couple of questions, it’s important to gauge whether you’ve been accepted into the conversation.

Dr. Laugeson pointed out that, per research, neurotypical people are not accepted into conversations 50% of the time!  And that’s okay!

It’s not a big deal.  There are other conversations.  You don’t want to force people to talk to you.

So, how do you know if you’ve been accepted into the conversation?

Look for signs of interest.  If the members of the group are talking to you, looking at you, leaning toward you with their bodies, or pointing their bodies toward you, those are good indications of acceptance.

And the reverse is true if they are not interested.  They won’t engage you in conversation, or if they are looking at you, they may be squinting their eyes or making other expressions of annoyance.  Or they may turn their bodies away from you entirely.

When more than two people talk in conversations, they talk in circles, facing each other.

When they want to talk to you, they open the circle.

When they don’t talk to you, the people closest to you close the circle through their body positions and spacing.

It’s important to know if you are accepted, because you don’t want to force them to talk you.  If you continue to try to engage them, they might find you annoying and not want to talk to you in the future.

Make A Graceful Exit

If you find out that you’re not welcome in a conversation, it’s important to exit that conversation gracefully.

Dr. Laugeson and Alex both recognized from experience that teens and adults on the autism spectrum may appear to be storming off when they leave a group.

So here’s how you can make a proper exit.

Slow it down.  Begin by looking away.  This shows the people talking that you aren’t interested in the conversation.  After looking away, turn your body in the same direction you are looking away.   Then casually and slowly walk away.

In Conclusion

What do you think of this step by step model?  What do you think of the video?  What other tips can you offer for improving conversational skill?

Image credit: Tawng / 123RF Stock Photo

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