One of the greatest things you can do for yourself in this life is learn how to be an excellent conversationalist.
Conversation is the engine that drives all interaction; there is no relationship, intimacy, or success, or personal growth without it.
Human beings were created and formed to be highly social creatures, and without meaningful social interaction we tend to fall into depression, increase our risk for illness, and stunt our life’s achievements.
If you can master conversation you will notice a tremendous growth in your personal life, sex life, business, and many other things.
How To Be A Great Conversationalist.
Step One: Willingness.
In sales we have a saying, “Treat the buyer like a buyer.” The thing you need to remember when selling is that you don’t know your customer, you’ve never met them before, and you have no clue what their story is.
When someone walks in I immediately assume not only that they want to buy something I’m selling, but that they can buy something I’m selling. Despite how they may be dressed or how they may act or how they may remind me of past experiences with other customers, I do my best to not assume their capability to make a purchase.
I do this because I don’t know anything about them, and I won’t know anything about them until I start interacting with them.
The same holds true for conversation. In order to be a great conversationalist you have to first be willing to engage in conversation with anyone you meet. Don’t assume you know part or all of someone’s story because they look or act a certain way.
Everyone has something interesting to share, even if it’s just a completely fucked worldview that you want no where near your life.
Step Two: Listen
This is where 95% of people cock it up. When someone starts talking most people start thinking instead of listening. How often do you find yourself reminded of something when a person starts telling you something, then, instead of hearing anything else they’re saying, you just start thinking about how and when you’re going to interject your own thoughts?
That’s why you’re a shitty conversationalist. It’s a “you problem”, and you need to fix it.
Instead of thinking about what you’re going to say (selfish), listen to what they’re saying. Realize that thinking about what and when and how you’re going to speak is your own vanity and it’s getting in the way of you accomplishing any goals you may have for the interaction.
Take your thoughts, file them aside quickly, and continue listening to the person. You’ll have an opportunity to speak soon enough, and when you do you’ll actually have something meaningful to say.
By actually listening to the person you’re talking to you give off the impression that you care, and that you’re conversing with them, and you’re not just two people talking at one another (as humans so often do).
Pro-Tip: Let go of trailing thoughts. Recognize that needing to shoehorn in a certain topic, story, or anecdote is just your vanity getting in the way of natural conversation.
Step Three: Flow With Progression
Conversation is not a static concept. It does not revolve around a single concept or topic, but rather shifts and flows through topics. It twists and weaves, ebbs and flows, tumbles and turns.
Enjoy the natural flow and progression from topic to topic. If you had something to say about an earlier topic, but the conversation turns before you get a chance to speak it, then simply let it go.
Perhaps you’ll have a chance later to say what you wanted. File it away and let the conversation move.
If you try to hold a conversation to a topic, all you’ll really do is kill the momentum and end the interaction.
Step Four: Relate
You’ve already spent time actively listening to the person that you’re talking to, allowing the flow of conversation to move in a natural manner, now you need to relate to the person and meet them on their level.
Meet Them On Their Level
Man, so here’s the thing: I read a lot. Anyone who reads a lot will tell you that you absolutely pick up words.
There are the conscious words you pick up. This is where you see something that looks and sounds neat, you aren’t sure what it means, so you pull out your dictionary (read: Google) and find out, and then make an effort to add that word to your vocabulary.
Then there are the unconscious words that you pick up, where you don’t even realize you’ve casually used a ten-dollar word until someone stops you and asks you to explain the word you’ve just used.
But to the listener, when you use a ten-dollar word, you usually sound like an asshole – whether you meant to be overly-eloquent in that moment or not.
People don’t like to converse on levels that they feel are above their intelligence. They will resent you for it. Sorry, people suck.
Now if you’re truly intelligent, it will shine through regardless of how you present yourself, and people will pick up on it. You may find people that even seek out higher levels of interaction with you once they realize the depth is there.
But that’s few and far between. Most people are average and they’re scared of being anything more, and will feel like you’re leaving them behind. Once they feel that way, they will think you’re an asshole.
Step Five: Add Value
The final step in making great conversation with someone is by adding value.
Here’s the thing about value: It can be a deep and penetrating thought, something that sends the other person into a philosophical tailspin. Something that makes them question their life and all of their choices. Something that changes them. Solves their problem.
But it isn’t always that.
Sometimes value in a conversation is making the right joke at the right time, or simply agreeing with the person.
Value in a conversation is anything that makes the other person feel heard and valued. Let me give you another sales example.
A customer is looking to purchase a widget from me and he’s ready to buy, but just before we shake hands he says, “Man Remy, this widget is expensive!”
Now, a lot of sales people would tell you that he’s objecting to the price of the widget, and that you can proceed by building the perceived value of the widget up to the price, or lower the price to his perceived value.
But that’s wrong. 99% of the time, when people complain about price, they aren’t objecting to paying it. They just want you to know that they’re spending a lot of money with you.
They know you’re getting a commission, they know they’re spending a large quantity of their money with you, and they just want to be appreciated for it.
Instead of responding with endless discounts, or trying to talk up the product more – thus stalling the sale – you should respond by making them feel valued.
“Yessir, it is expensive! But you’re making the right choice, and we appreciate you doing business with us. Let’s go ahead and get this thing done.”
This works most every time when someone complains about price, because what they’re really complaining about is feeling valued.
Making people feel valued goes a long way in a conversation.
To be a great conversationalist you need to be present; you need to listen; you need to care; you need to add value.
If you can do these things, you’ll find yourself having infinitely better conversations, that you get much further in life.
Make sure you leave a comment with your thoughts below because I love hearing from you!
Until Next Time,