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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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    Siobhan Harmer

    Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on February 11, 2021

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

    Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

    The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

    Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

    Perceptual Barrier

    The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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    The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

    The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

    Attitudinal Barrier

    Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

    The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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    The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

    Language Barrier

    This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

    The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

    The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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    Emotional Barrier

    Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

    The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

    The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

    Cultural Barrier

    Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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    The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

    The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

    Gender Barrier

    Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

    The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

    The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

    And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

    Reference

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