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Excluding

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Elements of the Conversation > Excluding

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Excluding is keeping other people or information out of the conversation.

Excluding others

To keep other people out of the conversation you can:

  • Ignore their comments and questions.
  • Give them short answers.
  • Do not look at them.
  • Turn away from them.
  • Directly face people you want to include.
  • Tell the excluded person that this is a private conversation or that they are otherwise not welcome on this occasion.

Excluding information

Keeping information out of the conversation keeps it with a sharper focus. To do this, you can:

  • Start the conversation with comment and agreement on the subject to be discussed.
  • Keep your own comments focused on the key area you want to discuss.
  • Ignore comments that are outside the discussion area where you want to focus.
  • When things do drift, bringing things back to the desired focus, either by talking more about it or asking that you stay on topic.

Example

Sorry, but I'd rather not talk about that at the moment.

Jane, I hope you don't mind but Stevie and I are having a private conversation.

Discussion

Sometimes when you are talking with others, you want to talk specifically with one or a few other people. Some other people may be present and effectively in the conversation. Others again may be nearby or turn up and want to join the conversation. The question is how to keep them out. This can be done either directly, telling them that they are not welcome on this occasion or (more politely) by sending them signals, such as ignoring them.

Most people will understand signals. Some people will ignore them. Some will feel insulted and respond in a difficult way. Most people will understand and move elsewhere, especially if the signal was sent carefully.

Excluding information is useful particularly when you want to keep a focus on a specific topic. Conversations often drift in random directions based on the associations people make with what is being discussed. To keep on topic, you will have to be careful to avoid drifting yourself and ensuring others do not drift.

See also

 Including

 

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