I vividly remembered the very first session for this course, we had to strike a conversation with almost every other classmate while filing up a worksheet. That left a deep impression in me as I am not someone who is prone to initiating a conversation with a stranger. Despite it being a mandatory step in almost any new social setting, I find it awkward and simply strange to do so. Having said that, the very first ES2007S helped me realize the trick to maintaining a conversation. It goes way beyond the content, to nonverbal that indicates interest or boredom of the topic. This is extremely helpful in terms of choosing the topic to strike a conversation. Another key point is listening. Whilst it is in our nature to multitask; that includes trying to think of the next possible topic and listening at the same time. One interesting takeaway for me was how being an active listener can solve it all. By being an active listener, it actually helps your audience to know that you ARE into what he/she is saying and this helps him/her to open up to you more and this is how the conversation rolls on. Instead of constantly trying to find a common topic or a new interesting topic, we can all start by listening!
To sum it up, I guess this is the major takeaway for me and I definitely see myself taking that bold step to network and socialize more now than before. 🙂