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How Conversation Works: 6 Lessons for Better Communication | [The Great Courses]

How Conversation Works: 6 Lessons for Better Communication

Regardless of age or occupation, conversation can be tricky. But like it or not, it's one of the most important things you do on a daily basis. Successful conversations help you advance professionally and make, maintain, and deepen relationships. Moreover, research shows that talking, when done on a substantive level, is correlated with a feeling of happiness and general well-being.In just six lectures, Professor Curzan teaches you key strategies that can dramatically improve your ability to converse with anyone, from strangers to supervisors.
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Publisher's Summary

Regardless of age or occupation, conversation can be tricky. But like it or not, it's one of the most important things you do on a daily basis. Successful conversations help you advance professionally and make, maintain, and deepen relationships. Moreover, research shows that talking, when done on a substantive level, is correlated with a feeling of happiness and general well-being.

In just six lectures, Professor Curzan teaches you key strategies that can dramatically improve your ability to converse with anyone, from strangers to supervisors. This highly practical course focuses on the fundamental principles you need to become more conversationally aware and savvy at home, in the workplace, and beyond. You'll learn graceful ways of pointing out a mistake, asking someone to do something he or she doesn't want to do, preparing a person for "no," asking for a big favor, and providing information the recipient doesn't want to hear. You'll also learn devices for skillfully opening and closing exchanges, taking turns "negotiating the conversational floor," sending people subtle signals, and sharing the conversational burden to make discussions feel more mutual and enjoyable.

Whether you want to build rapport with colleagues, promote yourself in an interview, give a winning presentation, ingratiate yourself with your boss, or even create a connection on a first date, knowing what to say and how to say it allows for more productive, smoother interactions.Professor Curzan helps you get ahead by outlining simple techniques for accomplishing all of these goals and more.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (325 )
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  •  
    Anne T. Løvstuhagen 07-15-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An truly entertaining introduction"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this audiobook because it was both highly informative and entertaining at the same time. Prof. Anne Curzan has indeed made a great series of lessons on this topic. But since I have studied some linguistics before, I found the content a little too basic for my needs. It did, however, provide me with some much needed repetition.


    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan SOUTH MORANG, Australia 09-13-13
    Ryan SOUTH MORANG, Australia 09-13-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Short but Worth every second"
    Any additional comments?

    absolutely worth listening to, Some of the information in here was new to me, even as a seasoned reader of effective communication books.
    My only complaint is that I feel there was a lot more room for expansion on the topics... I believe her knowledge is far from tapped out and I'd love to hear more

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gina West Hills, US, Canada 01-07-14
    Gina West Hills, US, Canada 01-07-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Left wanting more"
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Anne Curzan?

    The Professor was engaging and inviting to listen to her lecture. However, the content seemed to jump around to try and reach a wide scope of listeners, from students, to professionals, to single people to married people. The topics always seemed to fall short on following through with the chapter theme. I even listened a second time to see if I missed some of the content, but reached the same conclusion.


    Any additional comments?

    The lectures touched on the key points needed for communication and the importance it plays from relationships, to being a parent and surviving in the workplace. Listen.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jake Port Hueneme, California, United States 07-11-14
    Jake Port Hueneme, California, United States 07-11-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Good Information"

    I feel that everyone should take this course just so we know that we're all on the same page when it comes to conversation structure and etiquette. Much of the information was basic and familiar, but Curzan nonetheless finds a way to make it entertaining and insightful. This course isn't necessary if you feel that you are already pretty good at conversation and how to negotiate one, but it does bring interesting linguistic ideas to bear on conversation structure. I do feel an urge to evangelize about how the conversation floor and backchanneling work after listening. Good, short course.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane C. Harris 12-02-14
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    "The Best!!!"
    If you could sum up How Conversation Works: 6 Lessons for Better Communication in three words, what would they be?

    REALLY teaches nuances


    What was one of the most memorable moments of How Conversation Works: 6 Lessons for Better Communication?

    Some new realizations that I had about how to communicate in ways that preserve relationships--especially given that I am an experienced and effective psychologist. It was great to learn these new things--for myself and to teach my clients.


    What about Professor Anne Curzan’s performance did you like?

    Able to easily communicate the big concepts AND the trickier ones with ease. Professor Curzan also provided us with clear examples AND in different contexts (for example, within friendships, in professional/business relationships, with "strangers").


    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    Not to overwhelm people with too much information, especially when the content is fairly negative.


    Any additional comments?

    I haven't "erased" the book from my library yet, since I want to review it again soon.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-04-13
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    "Informative and Helpful"

    I really enjoyed it and honestly think it will help me with my communication skills. It's informative and easy to comprehend and apply.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 10-14-14
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 10-14-14 Member Since 2009

    When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.

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    "A to the point demystifying course"

    If you are looking for something short and to the point and how to start or participate in a conversation, you might find this short course just right. Prof. Anne Curzan teaches English at the University of Michigan and is an excellent Linguist. In this course you will not only learn more about conversations, you will also receive some useful tips that will allow you to read a conversation better. I found, for instance, the way that one uses and phrases questions in different contexts very interesting.

    So why don't I give it a five... The course though it even contains excellent role plays and is well presented, is in certain ways very basic. It is an appetiser that might be the starting point, but one needs to dig deeper. Still it comes highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Raphty 08-14-14
    Raphty 08-14-14 Member Since 2014
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    "good short reminder"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    i would recomend this book to enyone who has to communicate on a professional level its short, and most of it isn't quite new, most of you will already have heard of it, but it really is helpful to get your self to focus on these things again.


    What about Professor Anne Curzan’s performance did you like?

    i liked how she engages you as a listener to really try to notice linguistic behaviours and habits that you have and that other use.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Manlius, NY, United States 03-16-14
    Mike Manlius, NY, United States 03-16-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Made me challenge myself"
    What did you love best about How Conversation Works: 6 Lessons for Better Communication?

    While you believe you know how conversations work, this course challenges you to consider how you do communicate. And I found opportunities to become more effective. Professor Anne Curzan is easy to listen to and keeps your attention. The course is entertaining and illuminating.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Nashville, TN, United States 09-29-13
    John Nashville, TN, United States 09-29-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Plodding long statement of the obvious"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Probably okay for 5th graders learning basic social skills.


    What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

    It did not contain any information that didnt seem like the teachers random observations.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Better subject matter.


    6 of 17 people found this review helpful
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  • judith
    canary wharf, United Kingdom
    8/26/13
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    "Trivial"

    I know US college education does not have a great reputation and, if this is a fair sample, it supports that view. I do not need a 'Professor' to tell me that we ask questions indirectly, 'Could you pass me the sugar?' to be polite. (A typical five year old will make the same point, but with humour: 'I could, Mum, hahaha!'). I guess if English is not your mother tongue, this might be useful. This book has put me off this whole 'Great Courses' series, which had looked quite promising.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
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