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14 Tricks To Better Conversations

14 Tricks To Better Conversations

Do you think there may be room for improvement in your conversational skills? Perhaps you could use some new conversation starters or something to fill those awkward silences with? Here, chatting is made easy with Jonathan Roseland of Limitless Mindset’s 14 conversation tips:

Being a great conversationalist is a combination of mindset and methods. Luckily though, you can fake it till you make it. Here I will cover how you can ‘steal’ the conversation while appearing magnanimous, a sweet body language trick, applying economics concepts to increase the attention people show you and my favourite ‘pick up line’ to starting a conversation.

Start Conversations with a Question

You want to begin your conversation with a bang (first impressions matter!) so if possible start with an open ended question that is relevant to the environment that will engage your new friends.

The best ‘pick up line’ to begin an interesting conversation

Line: Pardon me. Do you mind if I get your opinion on something…?
Follow this up with an engaging question, here’s a few I like:

• Can you recommend any unique cocktails here?
• Do you know this town well? Can you recommend a restaurant/bar, etc?
• Where did you buy that clothing item/accessory/cell phone?
• What do you think of this event?

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Applying Relational Economics to Conversation

This is a very important concept to grasp so please pay attention. Imagine that your relationship is like a bank, you can make emotional withdrawals and emotional deposits to this bank. If the balance gets too low, then the relationship is over or becomes very unpleasant. This applies to any relationship, be it your mom or the person you just met at the bar. Here’s some examples in a conversational context.

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 22.47.48.png

    A brand new conversation is starting basically at very close to a zero balance, if you make too many withdrawals you’re done!

    Conversational-Relational Supply and Demand Arbitrage

    Continuing the metaphor of our relationships being a bank, we want to practice a little supply and demand arbitrage to make people more interested in us. Here’s how this is done: make a large emotional deposit. Then make a withdrawal, if possible use humor. What you are doing is giving them an emotional high associated with you and then taking it away. True to human form we want what’s been taken away from us even more. Here’s an example of how this could be done.

    Jonathan: Chris I’m really impressed with how you’ve been able to take something that you are passionate about and make a living helping people. What was it that inspired you to first try this?

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    Chris: Thanks Jonathan! What inspired me was…
    Jonathan: You are going about your marketing all wrong. You aren’t going to meet your goals if you keep doing things that way. I have marketing firm and I’ve produced some really spectacular results for clients in similar businesses to yours. I think I have some ideas that could help.

    Don’t go to overboard with this method though! Too much of an emotional rollercoaster will not make for good relationships.

    Body Language Mirroring

    This is the practice of copying the gestures and posture of the person you are chatting with. Are their legs crossed? Cross yours. Are their hands on the table? Put your hands on the table. Fairly simple. Timing is the key to maximizing the effectiveness of this technique. Wait till they mention:

    • Something that you find interesting
    • Something that they think you will find interesting
    • Something they are proud of

    Then mirror them. This subconsciously communicates that you empathize with the way they feel about whatever topic. A little while later break the mirroring, on a subconscious level they will wonder if they said something wrong and it will increase their interest level in you. Then mirror them again at a high point in the conversation.

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    How to Talk about Yourself and NOT be Boring

    You may be an absolutely fascinating person but the majority of people just don’t want to hear you talking about yourself. As you can imagine as a continuation of the economics metaphor, if you make a large emotional deposit first they will pay a whole lot more attention and be more interested in what you have to say about yourself. Alternate between making emotional deposits but keep talking how interesting you are and what you do.

    Practice Topic Depth Escalation

    It’s well said that small minds talk about people, moderate minds talk about events and great minds talk about ideas. It’s very rare that you can begin a conversation by diving into deep conceptual territory. So you want to start with small talk and humorous banter, then ask for people’s opinions on an event that occurred recently, then transition into talking about ideas surrounding the event. Example:

    Conversation Intro: Hey how has your day been?
    Event: Are you and Tracy doing anything special for valentine’s day?
    Idea: I saw this blog on the internet recently about the how our modern day concept of love is completely skewed from the traditional definition of love which is that of ongoing acts of sacrifice to something great than oneself.

    If you want to do a controversial issue idea, you can always ask “How would you respond to people who say…?” This way, you haven’t directly challenged someone but you have introduced another element into the conversation.

    Ask them to be Interesting

    Pretty much everyone is interesting in their own way and they probably don’t get to share it nearly as much as they would like to. So give them the opportunity and they will think the world of you. Here’s the simple line I like to use: So tell me something interesting about yourself, Chris?
    This is a great line that makes you seem charismatic as well as lets you know what they find interesting, which will surely make for good conversation.

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    How to ask people what they do

    You will come across as more interesting if you ask the question this way.
    So how do you spend your time when you aren’t __________________?
    The blank should be something relevant to context, environment or something that you know about them. Examples:
    So how do you spend your time when you aren’t writing fascinating blog posts?
    So how do you spend your time when you aren’t on Facebook?
    So how do you spend your time when you aren’t hanging out with beautiful women?
    So how do you spend your time when you aren’t at the gym?

    Demonstrate Your Listening Skills

    If you’re going to focus one thing to make you a better conversationalist, I would say to improve your listening skills. This will be another blog subject all together. When they are talking about a subject they find interesting, follow up with this question:
    “That’s interesting … say more about that…”
    Also ask probing questions such as:
    So what influenced you to make that decision?

    Speaking Pace

    In general, fast paced speech is a sign of nervousness and slow paced speech is a sign of confidence. So most of the time I go with a slower pace but if I’m talking with someone who has a noticeably fast pace, then I will mirror them and go fast.

    Magnanimous Conversation Stealing

    This has probably happened to you before: you are discussing something, someone else jumps in and makes the topic you are discussing all about them. This is called conversation stealing and it’s annoying, if you do it wrong. The correct way to do it is to make an emotional deposit before the steal and then make an emotional deposit at the end of the steal. That way you are keeping the attention high throughout and you don’t look like a jerk for stealing the conversation. Example:
    Chris: So my kid is just doing awesome at football practice.
    Me: That’s great. I definitely know where he gets his work ethic from! My kid has just got his black belt in Karate and is traveling to Korea for a student exchange program. Since you’ve traveled abroad extensively in Asia, can you give me some suggestions to give to him?
    As you can see here, I made an emotional deposit first by complimenting Chris and his kid, I stole the conversation and then I linked it right back to him and made another emotional deposit.

    Compliment Strategically

    Compliments are very powerful tool when used correctly, the right way is to compliment people on the things they are proud of. For example:
    • if a person is in great shape and obviously spends a lot of time in the gym, compliment them on their work ethic and commitment to taking care of themselves.
    • If someone is particularly successful in their career or business, compliment them on their intelligence, creativity and insights to capitalize on opportunity.
    • If someone is particularly well dressed, compliment them on their good taste.
    What you don’t want to do is compliment people on things that they were born with or did not have to work for. For example:
    • Don’t tell a gorgeous young girl that she is beautiful, she already knows this well and probably hasn’t worked at all for it.
    However there are situations where people are proud or have a sense of entitlement that you can complement if you want to stroke their ego. For example:
    • I have a very distinctive last name, when people tell me that they like it they just made an emotional deposit with me of about $100,000!

    Merge Groups

    If you are at a party or social event, there will be multiple groups of people standing around chatting. Over the course of the event you will migrate between different groups. As you see one of your previous groups in the physical proximity to your current group, invite them to join together. Make a joke about this if appropriate:
    I have some more friends over here to introduce you all to, can I arrange to get a merger & acquisition of our groups?

    You are going to be excellent at remembering names, since you are going to read our article How to Remember Names, you will know the names of everyone in each group and can introduce everyone. This makes you look like a true social Rockstar and sets you up as the dominant leader of both groups. Actually being able to pull this off will increase your social proof by about a 10,000%.

    14 Methods and Mindset Tricks To Make You A More Interesting Conversationalist | Limitless Mindset

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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