Seekingtruth14, on 21 February 2012 - 03:06 AM, said:
I agree with you Faatima_ki_kaneez and EnterMessage. I will definitely remember these important pieces of advice you have given me.
I must admit that I am not so good at having conversations. But understanding how a pious lady think will definitely help me understand how to keep a good conversation with her.
My absolute fear in such kind of conversations is the moments of silence. If I ask the lady about what she likes to do in her free time and the answer is short and ends quickly, then I think I will be stuck there. Any advice how to break the silence if there is no more questions to ask? And finally, how long should a conversation last? Should the conversation end when there are no more questions to ask?
I won’t bother you with more questions dear sisters. Your help have been enormous. May Allah (swt) bless you for your efforts and shower His mercy upon you.
I'm actually a journalism student, so i have alot of experienc with getting people to actually speak. i have done countless interviews, often with people who REALLY didn't want to talk to me. So, my challenge was (and your challenge is) to carry on a conversation in a casual way to get the most use out of your time. Basically, the following are tips i use when interviewing people.
First of all, come with a prepared list of questions. Like you did in a previous post, but broader and more generalized. So, for example, you might say I want to talk about
- her work
- her interests
- where she sees herself in 5 years as a career woman, as a person, as a muslima
- her level of devotion.
So, basically, you've set a groundwork for exactly what you want to learn at the end of that conversation session (or interview).
In your case, come with a set of things you want to talk about for yourself that you think she'll find interesting/helpful (don't be arrogant, but helpful). So, maybe you want to talk to her about some of your shortcomings in faith, but struggle to regain devotion. Maybe you want to talk about your experience at work. you get the idea. the point of this is not so that you can go in, and bombard her with information about you, but rather so that you don't have an uncomfortable/awkward moment when the conversation goes back to you (which it is bound to).
Now, you are in the actual interview/conversation situation. There are many important things when conducting an interveiw. First of all, eye contact is very important. She wants to know you're speaking to her, not your shoes. It is important that you reinforce her answers with a nod, smile, etc so that she knows you are ACTIVELY listening, not pasively listening.
Now, since she might be too shy to start the conversation, you'll start. The important part of any interview (even your interview of your future partner) is to have a conversation, not interrogation. She has not commited any crimes, so you should not be bombarding her with question after question.
maybe, if you feel particularly uncomfortable or awkward, start by acknowledgeing the awkward situation. make a joke out of it. Lessen the tension. let her know that she is not the only one who is nervous. that it is normal.
So, you get to the actual conversation, after the usual small talk.
your first question should be something that you know will get her talking. So, dont' ask "so how are you today." the obvious answer is "fine, thanks." followed by an awkward silence.
Instead ask, "So, i heard that you love to read. I am actually always looking for good books, have any suggestions." Obviously, I don't know if she really does, but you get the point. Ask an open ended question which she will be forced to give a detailed answer.
Also, don't ask a loaded first question. So, don't take your first sip of tea, and go right into her beleifs in the Imam (AJ). start with a light question, and burry your heavier questions towards middle (not the end either because you don't want to leave a heavy impression. you want to end on a lighter note, too).
Key here is to give continuous positive reinforcement in the form of smiles, nods, small intejections of "oh yes, i loved that too," etc. Be an active listener. DO NOT simply sit there like a zombie, staring at her and waiting for your next question or your turn to talk.
Part of being an active listener and a good interviewer is to ask follow up questions. The key to good follow up questions is to be as casual as possible, don't be forced, and stay on topic for as long as possible. don't go from "what's your fav book" to "what is your ambition is life"
Also, don't randomly bring in yourself. What many people tend to do is listen to someone else's story half awake, and become animated and jump in when they see a perfect moment to interject their own personal story, thus derailing the conversation.
So, for example, lets say she gives a short answer of why you should read "To Kill A Mockingbird" (I use this becuase it's one of my personal favs). you can say, "Oh, i love that book!" but don't derail the conversation by going into a personal story of how you, like the main character Atticus, also love law and how you decided at the age of 6 to become a lawyer. You have thus changed the subject from the book to yourself.
instead, say how you love that book as well, especially the main character atticus for his love of law. then ask why she loves the book so much. Again, this is a very delicate balance between talking and listening. The main goal is to get as much life out of each question, topic.
if this conversation is dwindling down, then move on. Give her chance to ask you a question. Maybe bring up something off of your list of questions to ask her or comments about yourself (again, don't be arrogant). Maybe introduce your own interest (since you just talked about her love of reading) of mountain climbing (again, i'm guessing, go with it).
your list of questions, topics, icebreakers should prevent the conversation from ending uncomfortably soon.
I think the main piece of advice for any interview is don't feel burdened by having
to ask or having
to listen. Approach it with interest, and sincerity. If you do, then you won't feel like you're stuck there, but will atomatically continue the conversation on your own, naturally.
Best of luck!
Edited by Faatima_ki_kaneez, 21 February 2012 - 04:03 AM.