How To Talk To Anyone

How To Talk To Anyone

First impression

  • Your body shrieks before your lips can speak – the way you look and the way you move is more than 80 percent of someone’s first impression of you!
  • You want to look confident and comfortable in the environment you’re in, and in order to look so, great posture, a heads-up look, a confident smile and a direct gaze are musts.
  • “Smile!” is one of the top advices anyone would give you when talking about first impression, but it is important that you fine-tune your smile. If you flash everyone with the same smile, it loses value. Rather look at the other person’s face for a second, pause, and then let a big, warm, responsive smile flood over your face and overflow your eyes. This shows that your smile is genuine. If one person in a group is more important to you than the others, reserve especially big smile for that person.
  • If you want to make your eyes look even more intelligent, try the “Sticky eyes” technique: pretend your eyes are glued to your conversation partner’s with sticky warm taffy, and don’t break eye contact even after he or she has finished speaking. When you must look away, do it slowly and reluctantly.
  • In order to look like a big winner wherever you go, just remember that your posture is your biggest success barometer

Making connection

  • Listen to your conversation partner’s every word for clues to his or her preferred topic and when you’ve registered it navigate the conversation in that direction.
  • When you meet someone, imagine a giant revolving spotlight is on you. When you’re talking, the spotlight is on you and when the new person is speaking, it’s shining on him or her. The longer you keep it shining on him or her, the more interesting he or she finds you.
  • Whenever you are at a meeting or party with someone important to you, think of some stories he or she told you. Choose an appropriate one from their repertoire that the crowd will enjoy, then shine the spotlight by requesting a repeat performance.
  • Don’t leave the home without the latest news. Every time before leaving for a party or gathering, turn on the radio news or scan the daily newspaper – you will find a bunch of conversation starters.
  • Instead of asking someone you just met “What do you do”, ask them “How do you spend most of your time”. This way you let people who don’t like talking about their jobs off the hook. On the other side, it opens the door for workaholics to let you know all about their job.
  • When other people ask you about your job, skip the title and rather use benefit statement. Think “Here’s how my life can benefit yours” and then give the answer. For example, don’t say “financial planner.” Say “I help people plan their financial future.”
  • Only 50 words make the difference between a rich, creative vocabulary and an average, middle-of the road-one. Substitute a word a day for two months and you’ll be in the verbally elite.
  • Whenever you have something in common with someone, the longer you wait to reveal it, the more moved (and impressed) the person will be. This way you emerge as a confident big cat. But don’t wait too long to reveal your shared interest or it will seem like you’re being tricky.
  • Start every appropriate sentence with you. It immediately grabs your listener’s attention. It gets a more positive response because it pushes the pride button.
  • Don’t let “thank you” stand alone. Make sure to always follow it with for: “Thank you for asking”, for example.
  • Once a month, do something you’d never dream of doing. Participate in a sport, go to an exhibition, hear a lecture on something totally out of your experience. You get 80 percent of the right language and insider questions from just one exposure.
  • Dissolve your daily habits of reading the daily news. Instead of reading the sections that you usually read first, try another section, preferably one you hardly ever read. It will familiarize you with other worlds so that you can soon discuss anything with anybody, no matter how little you have in common.
  • Echoing is a simple linguistic technique that you can use. Listen to the speaker’s arbitrary choice of nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives and echo them back. This makes people feel like you share their values, their attitudes, their interest and their experiences.
  • You can create the sensation of intimacy with someone even if you’ve met just moments before. Skip the clichés and talking about the weather and proceed to feelings and personal questions. An extra tip is that you start using “we statements”.
Source: Lowndes, LL 2003, How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships, McGraw-Hill Education, New York
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