Moncton — If you’re like most New Brunswickers, you probably get pretty bored during conversations about things that don’t interest you. One Moncton woman, however, has developed the amazing ability to turn any conversation about any topic into something about herself — and she’s now offering others the chance to learn her methods.
Shannon Kowalski is a 37-year-old massage therapist who spent years oblivious of her special ability, until a friend inquired about her secrets. “She said, ‘Shannon, you’re amazing at making everything about you… how do you do it?’” recalled a glowing Kowalski. “Before then, I never really realized I even had this gift — it was something that just came to me naturally.”
That friend was Katie Campbell, a childhood acquaintance who said she’d always marvelled at Kowalski’s ability to stay engaged in each and every conversation she had, no matter the topic.
“I get so bored talking to people, but not her — she is so into every single conversation, and it seems so organic,” explained Campbell. “If I try to stay interested in a conversation that lasts more than 3 minutes, I have to fake smiles and nod as I pretend to care.”
Campbell recounted the first time she noticed something different about the way Kowalski spoke with people. “A friend of ours was telling us about a recent vacation to the Bahamas. I knew that Shan had never been there, but she was still able to turn the conversation around and make it all about her — it was impressive! She listened for maybe 20 seconds and then was like, ‘Wow, the Bahamas? I once saw a show about the Bahamas,’ and then she used that opening to tell us everything that was going on in her life.”
Upon our reporter’s urging, Kowalski listed her top 5 tips on how to turn boring discussions into conversations about you:
- Take any lull in the conversation as an opportunity to strike and make it about you;
- Don’t hesitate to relate whatever they’re saying to something that you’ve experienced, e.g., if they’re talking about growing up on a farm, say that you’ve eaten things that have come from farms;
- Be patient. It’s easy to become bored and frustrated if you’re listening to someone talk for half a minute, but stay focussed and your opportunity will present itself;
- Avoid stopping to breathe — you don’t want to give the other person a chance to return to what they were originally talking about;
- Smile and make eye contact. This way, the person you’re speaking with won’t be able to leave the conversation until you let them.
Kowalski is currently offering seminars from her home in Moncton and hopes to later produce self-help videos so more people can hear what she has to say.