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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2003
The book is direct, clearly written, with many practical examples. There are books on the market that are more detailed in specific topics such as active listening, but as an overall practical guide to improving social effectiveness through starting and maintaining conversations, this is excellent.
The key to good converstation, per the author, is asking open ended questions that focus on the other person. Be actively engaged in the conversation through active listening.
The book also goes into how deliver honest positives, even when that is difficult. You could call this "spin", but it is spin in the more positive sense, as opposed to what some politicians have performed.
The book also deals with how to communicate personal information to maintain and develop the conversation, use of body language, active listening, issuing invitation (conversations and other), handling criticism, defusing difficult situations, and requesting change of behaviors in others.
As I said, the book is well written, covers each subject well, with plenty of useful examples. If you liked Covey's "Seven Habits", you'll like this book. I plan to make use of many of the techniques.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2000
I have been shy most of my life and until I read this book I felt totally socially inept. I had no idea of what to say to people or how to say it upon first meeting them and I would let others take the risk of introducing themselves to me. Now my shyness is gone and I can approach anyone without any fear of rejection, this book has saved me from a life of abject loneliness and made me into a social STAR. By using the tools Alan Garner gives the reader, one is able to create deep meaningful relationships. Conversation is the fabric of human interaction and questions are the foundation of conversation. Through asking the correct type of questions one is able to discover exactly what type of person they are dealing with. I went from having non-discovery conversations lasting only a few minutes to deep meaningful conversations lasting all night. If you want to have friendships of value this book is for you. I am amazed at how much people reveal about themselves to me, people are no longer a mystery to me, they are a treasure chest of information and excitement.
If you are shy as I was this book and Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers will help you become the person you were born to be.
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on July 2, 2001
A had read three books on making conversation (How To Work A Room, What Do I Say Next?, and How to Start A Conversation and Make Friends). I really tried to do what they said, but for several years now, I have just fallen flat and have not been able to "connect" with others. After reading Mr. Garner's book just last week, I have really been connecting with many people. For the first time, I have been given information that actually works because it is suited to what makes people "tick". Whereas the aforementioned books basically tell you to act nice, listen, and have interesting information to talk about, Mr. Garner's information gives you tools to have people actually want to continue talking with you. I felt that the other books made you still be somewhat "boring" to other people because most people want you to relate to them, rather than them having to find your topics interesting. This book has really changed my life and I am really grateful! Other good picks are (audiotapes) The Fine Art of Small Talk by Deborah Fine and The Pocket Guide to Making Successful Small Talk: How to Talk to Anyone Anytime Anywhere About Anything by Bernardo J. Carducci, Ph D.
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on April 8, 2001
I had considered myself a very shy person, never knowing what to say to new people, so I decided to read this book. This book is a very helpful book. The author, Alan Garner, takes you through his step by step Conversationally Speaking course, which will help anyone who has any problems striking conversation.
Garner gives advice on how to make people want to talk to you, everything from how to give off a positive body language and seem to others to be open and willing to socialize, to how you can make people interested in what you talk about, just by talking about things that interest them? Now you may ask, how do you know what interests someone, or how do I talk in a way that will make me seem more intriguing to a person, if I dont know them or what they want, let alone what they think??? Your answer..... Read this book!!!!! It tells you all of that and more, and all of Garner's techniques are supported by real life situations, and in many cases, real life dialogue that Garner has either been a part of himself, been there to see it, or heard from a friend. Just reading these alone can show you how to be more sociable and build self confidence. In short, if you want to be a better people person, then READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!
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on December 25, 1998
When I was a freshman at HSU in 1981 I didn't have a real conversation with anyone for the first six weeks. Nearly a hermit, I finally exchanged a "hello" and a few words with someone and was elated for days.
Knowing I needed lots of help in the conversation department, I looked for a book on how to talk with people. What I found was Alan Garner's first edition of CONVERSATIONALLY SPEAKING. Without a hint of hyperbole I can say that it changed my life. Over a relatively short period I became a highly skilled conversationalist and a highly sought after friend. I ended up making a career out of the skills I learned in this book. Thank you Alan Garner.
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on April 15, 2002
This is the first review that I've ever written on a book, but I felt that this book deserves my review so that others may benefit from its content. I use to think that the reason I was having problems relating to some people was because I needed more self-confidence. But through this book I came to realize that what I needed were tools that would give me the confidence to relate to anyone. Listening and asking questions of the other person is not enough. It is also important to let other people know about yourself. All chapters in the book were excellent. Book deserves 10 stars!
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on October 21, 2002
It was worth a long wait! I started reading this book as soon as it arrived. I'm a very shy person who is self conscious and hate social gatherings(which is why I bought this book...). Immediatley reading this book, I already got the confident and feel excited about going out to meet new people!! This book has such great examples which are practical and useful. I can relate to the stories he writes. I hightly recommend this book to people who are shy, self conscious, hate social gatherings. This book is a tool to make you a more outgoing, confident person!! Good luck!
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on January 11, 2000
This book should be read by anyone who has had even mild trouble meeting and effectively communicating with others. The techniques are all very useful and unlike other books which are mostly theory this book is number 1 in the practical application department. When I was down for awhile it really helped to have such straightforward and concrete help in meeting others. The book will make a people person out of the wallflower and even give those of us who have a lot of friends some help :)
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on November 29, 2002
If you frequently find yourself unable to think of anything to say, or anything worthwhile to say, buy this book. Before I bought this book I would always find myself in dead-end conversations. People would think I was boring and had nothing going for me. While that's true, this book has helped me to at least seem like a regular person. If you're a complete introvert with no hope this book might not turn you into Mr. Popularity but it will do you A LOT of good. Buy it!
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on August 9, 2002
I read the book out of order (skipped around, etc.), according to the subjects that interested me most, and the book is really helping me in my social life! I just started summer school, and I made a good friend within 3 minutes of the class; oddly, I feel like the most "talkative" in class, I'm not afraid to approach anyone--I recommend this book because it has given me valuable perspective. Buy it!
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