Four Ways to Improve Your Conversational Skills

People magnets.

You know the type. The person who can talk to anyone, draws people in, and has a social circle the size of an army.

How do they do it?

Six years ago I started a journey to find out. That journey has carried me from being a miserably shy introvert, to being able to strike up conversation competently almost anywhere.

But I’m not writing this blog to talk about myself. I’m writing this because I want to help you. I’m writing about this subject because becoming more socially competent has been one of the single most influential factors in my entire life.

Though I could spend days talking about what a stronger social presence can bring to your life, let’s just use our time to get down to the nitty gritty.

So how do I get people to like me?

There’s a million topics to cover about how increase one’s likeability, but for this article I’d like to talk about the one of the most basic and crucial components of human interaction: the art of conversation.

Below are four ways you can add spice to your conversational cuisine. Take notes, practice with friends, and, most importantly, have fun!

1)      Get to the “why?”

2)      Get them to build Investment

3)      Branch off from key words

4)      Remember what is talked about!

1)     Get to “why?”

WWWWW

A problem that many people have is being overly logical in conversation.  Getting only facts and figures can be interesting, but it often is very superficial and can make the conversation dry. Here’s an example conversation one might have at a college social gathering:

Person 1: “Hey who do you know here?”

Person 2: “Billy invited me.”

Person 1: “Ok, cool. So what are you majoring in?”

Person 2: “Biology.”

Person 1: “Awesome. I heard that’s pretty tough.”

Person 2: “Ya I guess so.”

Person 1: “What year are you?”

Person 2: “Junior.”

Person 1: “Oh ok.”

Person 2: “Hey sorry, I need to go see my friend over there. It was nice talking to you.”

There is no connection going on between these two people. Many of us are programmed just to ask the same questions in a way that doesn’t ever get to know somebody beyond their resume. It’s ok to ask the basic questions, but it’s important to ask them in a way that emotionally connects with the person.

So instead of settling for the superficial facts, get to the WHY of everything. There’s always a value or emotion behind everything a person says or does. If you can get to that emotion or value, then there’s something to connect upon.

Though we have our differences, every human on the planet experiences emotion and has values. Connect on these, and you will quickly build chemistry and rapport.

Person 1: “So let’s get the usual questions over with. What are you majoring in?”

Person 2: “Oh I’m doing biology.”

Person 1: “Interesting. You first struck me as the go-getter businessy type. Why’d you choose biology?”

Person 2: “I do? Oh, well I think it’s really fascinating. I love learning how things work at that level.”

Person 1: “Ok..[pause] but that fascination had to come from somewhere. I bet you were one those kids that was glued to the discovery channel 24/7.”

Person 2: “Hah, no, but I did love biology class in middle and high school. And I just never wanted to stop.”

Person 1: “Well, props to you for doing a major you actually enjoy. I can’t tell you how many pre-meds I’ve met in biology who are doing it because of pressure from their parents.”

Person 2: “Haha yeah, thank you.”

Person 1: “Yeah I get that same sense of fascination with English. You know that feeling you get when you learn some really cool new factoid that just blows you mind?”

Person 2: “Ya I totally do.”

Person 1: “See I get that from seeing simple words, creating complex and compelling ideas when put together. It’s really stirring to read a good book that can create a brilliant narrative that moves you into a different world…”

Person 2: “I totally get what you mean!”

You see how in this conversation, the WHY creates something so much richer? When you get to people to open up with their values and emotions, they feel a much stronger sense of connection to you. But why is that?

2)     Get them to build Investment

Panama Property = Money

There’s a psychological phenomenon called the Ben Franklin effect. The Ben Franklin effect says that the more a person invests into something, the more the person likes and appreciates that thing. To give an example:

Say you save up for 20 years to buy a house. You finally buy it, but then the next day you win an identical house down the street in a sweepstakes. Which house do you value more?

Of course you value the house you saved for more. The same effect occurs with people. In a conversation with someone, that investment is based on sharing deeper, more personal information and simply spending more time talking.

“Ok so.. that’s great. But how can I use this..?”

Make the conversation about them.

Spend 90 percent of the conversation focused on the other person. You will be surprised by how good they felt about the interaction. They will feel that they opened up to you more and feel a greater sense of connection. That’s the power of investment.

In addition, by making the conversation about them, you will be differentiating yourself from the majority of people. How many conversations have you had in which it felt like the other person was simply waiting for their turn to talk about themselves? It feels like that other person doesn’t even care what you have to say.

Really take the time to show that you care about what the other person is saying.

Bad:

Person 1: “I really like baseball.”

Person 2: “That reminds me, my favorite team is the Yankees. I watch them all the time.”

Good:

Person 1: “I really like baseball.”

Person 2: “Hm, yeah you totally gave off the ‘I’m the ringleader of a fantasy baseball league’ vibe haha.”

Person 1: “I don’t know if I like it THAT much but yeah, a bunch of my friends do fantasy baseball. I just watch it.”

Person 2: “I take it you follow one particular team then, right? There’s two types of baseball fans: the fans who follow a team, and the fans whose lives are enveloped in baseball and know more facts than an encyclopedia.”

Person 1: “Haha, I mean I’m not that bad, but I definitely love it. What about you, what are you into?”

If you spend 90 percent of the conversation on the other person:

  1. The person will feel the conversation is better because they talked about something personally interesting to them
  2. You’ll have demonstrated your ability to listen
  3. The other person will like you more through the power of investment

3)     Branch off from key words

what are word for?

Listen for key words that you can branch off the conversation with. You never have to run out of things to say if you can record some key words from them. Take the following sentences:

I love skiing. My friends and I went to Tahoe for President’s day weekend. It was so much fun.

Let’s look at the words we can work with:

Skiing

Friends and I

Tahoe

President’s day weekend

Skiing: “Skiing huh? That explains the quote, unquote, ‘cool’ attitude you have. Har harr. But that’s interesting, Why skiing?”

Friends and I: “Friends and I huh? You strike me as the social leader of this winter trekking group. I’m not sure why, maybe it was your firm handshake. Are you the one who organizes all these trips?”

Tahoe: “Nice. Tahoe is a fun place. A little too much fun. Is there something about Tahoe that you like better than other places?”

President’s day weekend: “So while other people used the weekend to catch up on work, you decided to catch up on fun. Nice… I feel like, especially in Berkeley, that can often be a much better choice. People get so stressed with school that it lowers their grades anyway. Have you found similar patterns with the people you know?”

There is a huge range of places that you can take a conversation just by listening to the words that are said.  You don’t have to act on all of these tidbits right away. Later on in the conversation, you can just as easily go back to any of these words and use that to start a new conversational thread.

Also, notice in my responses that I give a statement before I ask another question. Asking questions in a row will feel like an interview, and put a lot of strain on the other person. If you can’t think of anything to say for a statement, you can always turn the question itself into a statement:

Why skiing? – There must be something you really like about skiing.

Are you the one who organizes all these trips? – I bet you’re the one who organizes all these trips.

Is there something about Tahoe that you like better than other places? – There must be something about Tahoe that you like better than other places.

Have you found similar patterns with the people you know? – You have probably found similar patterns with the people you know.

But what are interesting ways to branch off the conversation?

If you can’t think of anything in particular, try inserting a 1) personal story, 2) an opinion, or 3) trivia.

4)     Remember what is talked about!

Question mark

Another powerful tool in listening is remembering specific facts about a person. You will earn so many more points if you can remember 1) their name and 2) something specific that they told you about. There will often be a surprise of “oh wow you remembered that.”

One of the most poignant of these is, you guessed it, a person’s name. Remembering a person’s name can be major brownie points later in a conversation.

Strategies to remember names:

  1. Repeat the name in your conversation when you first get the name.Example: “Bill? Like Bill the Clinton? It’s nice to meet you Bill. I’m sure with a name like Bill you’ve had to endure many a president and money based jokes. But I’ll treat you like a normal person Bill, don’t worry. ” (perhaps a little overboard in this case but you get the point)
  2. Associating the person’s name with a celebrity, character, food, nickname, or something generally absurd and memorable. This is a technique used by memorization champions. http://mnemotechnics.org/wiki/Memorizing_Names_and_Faces

Examples:

When you meet a Bill, you picture Bill Clinton in your head. Think of the guy in front of you as the former president.

When you meet a Nancy, think of eating at an Indian restaurant, and suddenly the first plate of naan comes out. See naan, or in reverse, Naan see (Nancy)!

When you meet a Robin, make the mental image of a bird flying around and chirping. Imagine the bird flies down from the sky with a banner (kind of like a Disney movie) with of a name: Robin.

  1. See other strategies here:
    1. http://www.buildyourmemory.com/faces.php
    2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBqOAxpBT_U

Unlike what happens when you read other articles, I want you to take action right now.

Write down these four strategies on a piece of paper (or in a word document). It takes less than 30 seconds.

1)      Get to the “why?”

2)      Build Investment

3)      Build off their words

4)      Remember what is talked about!

I can wait.

….

Done? Ok.

Wasn’t that easy?

Now, text up an old friend you haven’t seen for a while and schedule a coffee or meal together. Alternatively, strike up a conversation with a stranger. When in conversation, try to utilize at least one of these strategies. Then post your results in the comments below.

If you guys have other tips that you would like to share, or if you have any comments, please post them below!

—————————————-

My crowdfunding campaign just opened today! (click here)

Exclusively to the seduction community I am offering coaching perks in addition to the ones offered on the page.

I have coached daygame for almost a year now and have done dozens of workshops, 1 on 1, and skype coaching. I am currently located in California and can offer expertise for gaming in the SF Bay, San Diego, LA, or OC.

When else would you get the chance to help amputees in Bolivia while learning how to pickup girls?

If you are interested, send me an email at jeff@iseeidate.com with 1) your name 2) what you want to learn 3) your availability.

-Jeff

photo credit: moriza via photopin cc

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photo credit: thinkpanama via photopin cc

photo credit: Darwin Bell via photopin cc

photo credit: Marco Bellucci via photopin cc

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One response to “Four Ways to Improve Your Conversational Skills

  1. Pingback: Conversation Skills: What do I say next? | Dating in the Day·

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