• The art of conversation

    I'm in Milan. I look all around me and people are talking. Some wildly with their hands, others whilst smoking a cigarette. The common thing is; they are talking.

    So I sit and wonder, are italians natural conversationalists? Has my upbringing made me immune to noticing this before? I now realise I talk with my hands and have a very loud voice.

    I've never been good at it though, it's like stage fright but worse in some cases. One wedding involved me stuttering for five minutes, yes FIVE minutes until stumbling backwards into the pool. Bride and groom weren't happy.

    But things are changing...

    It's only been a few months but I have recently started talking more to random people. Bars, airports, weddings, formal and informal events, no one is safe! What's inspired me to do this I'm not sure, maybe being the lanky one in the corner was creeping me out as well. Looking back most of these conversations have been enriching, some cases life threatening but overall, enriching.

    I've learnt to ask more questions, alcohol seems to have helped this area aside from a good shove in the back from friends at some points.

    I don't expect answers, but I get them and some people are like Pringles, they tell you one thing and they don't shut up. One couple revealed the complexity of understanding why their first born had called his second child Gertrude...

    Is their an art to it?

    Sales people will say yes! Marketeers will go on about knowing the audience and talk show people will research until blue in the face to make sure the chat isn't a flop.

    Honestly for me the secret is to talk. People will answer back, sustaining the conversation is the hard bit but gets easier with time. (Dear chat show person this doesn't apply to you, be prepared l, always, with a back up curve ball or something about kittens)

    in the last 24 hours I've met a canadian couple who were awesome, football journos that were hilarious and spoken to a top class model (would never have happened a few months ago). If you don't start a conversation, you never know where it could lead.

    So what will I be doing in my remaining time in Milan? Trying to chat to some beautiful people with the hope that my face fit for radio won't put them off but just think of the stories I could have if they answer back!

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