“Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.”
There's a concept in the sales world called KISS vs. KILL. Keeping it short and simple versus keeping it long and lengthy.
An amateur salesman would "KILL" the sale by going on and on about unimportant details. A good salesman on the other hand would hit all of the important points in the shortest time possible and close the deal.
Tip#1: Be Efficient With Your Speaking
Conversation is all about quality. Try to remove all types of filler words like, "Uhm, Like, I Guess, Well, Uhhhhh, You Know." These words bring no value to the conversation and they literally mean nothing. Read the following paragraph.
What did you do this winter?
Well, I had an ok time this break.I went snowboarding for the first time with some of my friends and uhm.... well it's actually a lot harder than it looked. Uh...that's about it. I guess I had fun haha.
Now compare it to this, "What did you do this winter?" I and my friends went snowboarding. It was actually my first time and it was a lot harder than it looked.
Notice how the second version is much shorter, but the information being conveyed is the exact same. However, it sounds more confident and even more sophisticated. Don't be afraid to take pauses instead of relying on filler words as a crutch. Pauses can be powerful and can emphasize different parts of the message.
Here's an example of pauses in action with the same sentence that we mentioned before.
I and some friends went snowboarding...It was actually my first time but...it was a lot harder...than it looked.
Tip#2: Use Pauses
Make use of pauses to emphasize different parts of the message and to deliver more powerful messages.
The following skill is probably the single most important skill in terms of overall conversation ability. If you can master this one skill, you'll be able to have endless conversations with just about anybody.
Tip#3: Conversational Threading
Within every sentence, there are different topics that you can branch off into. Let's take a look at the following sentence. I live in New York City but, I've always wanted to move to the suburbs. It's because I love nature and I hate being around too many people. There are four different topics that you can branch off from here. You can talk about that time you wanted to visit New York City. You can talk about how you feel about living in the suburbs. You can talk about your relationship with nature, and you can also talk about how you’re also an introvert and how you can relate with their hate with being around too many people.
When a conversation dies it's usually because there are no other topics to talk about that are interesting. So when given the opportunity to branch off into different topics, choose one that you are interested in talking about. Also, keep in mind, that you want to be giving the other person opportunities to talk about multiple topics as well. If you don't give them topics to branch off into, the conversation will eventually reach a dead-end. Now this skill comes with practice. The more you try to look for topics to bounce off of, the more you will notice them.
Here's another sentence.
I like going to the gym. There’s a sense of satisfaction I get when I see myself getting better at something.
Now there are three different topics that you can branch off from here. You can talk about how you like going to the gym. You can talk about something that satisfies you. You can also talk about something that you got better at. Think back to the last time you went on an interview. When I think of an interview, I think of something that is high tension, nerve-wracking, and definitely not something that the average person enjoys going through.
A common mistake that a lot of people make when meeting someone new, is entering what I like to call "Interview Mode". They bombard the other person with question after question after question, and this can be extremely uncomfortable. The issue with asking too many questions is that it makes the conversation very one-sided. When you ask a question you're not sharing any information about yourself. All you're doing is demanding information from the other person. This is where that uncomfortable feeling comes from. There's a lack of connection that is being built. You want to be sharing information about yourself as much as possible so that you can build rapport. Build a connection.
Tip#4: Use Statements Instead Of Questions
When you make statements you share information about yourself. Pay attention to the next time you hang out with your closest friends or buddies. You'll notice that the majority of the conversation is with statements. Once in a while, a question is thrown in as a natural step in the conversation, but the large majority will be all statements. Now there are a lot of different types of statements, and I'll cover the main ones. We have the story opinion statement. Basically, a statement that tells a small story or shows your opinion on something.
Here is an example of a question.
What are you scared of?
Here is an example of the story statement being used to replace this question.
I used to be terrified of the dark. When I was a kid, I would sleep with my head under the covers to hide from all the monsters and ghosts.
Notice how the question shares nothing about yourself. It doesn't really give the other person a topic to jump to besides answering your question. So your only really giving them one thing to talk about. On the other hand, the story statement shares information while it also gives the other person opportunities to talk about different topics. You're giving them different things to thread off of. They can talk about whether or not they're scared of the dark. They can talk about things they used to do when they were a kid. And they can even talk about ghost stories. All of these can be branched off of this statement.
Next up we have the cold read statement. This is a great way to use statements with someone you just met. Simply put, it's an observation that you make about the other person. Instead of saying something like, "Hey, what do you like to do for fun." You can say something like, "Hey, you look like a fun person. I bet you have some interesting hobbies." This is a great trick because the person can respond in three different ways.
Number 1: You’re wrong, and they'll correct you. I'm actually not fun. I sleep all day.
Number 2: You’re wrong but, you'll be asked why you thought so. "I'm actually not fun but, I'm curious as to why you thought I was.
Number 3: You're correct and a large amount of rapport will be built instantaneously. I am fun, I love to dance and sing. How did you know?!? Each of these ways gives you many more opportunities to branch off into different topics as compared to the simple question, "What do you do for fun?"
So you're sharing information first, and you're not asking anything from them. It's up to them to decide how to respond. And finally, we have a random statement. They're completely random statements that are literally the thoughts that just pop into your mind. They can range from anything about; things that are happening around you, or observations, stories, random thoughts.
There's a whole lot of things that you can talk about.
Here are some examples:
I'm tired of my friends all they talk about is sports all day. Look at that guy, he's having so much fun. I wish I could be that loose. I'm thinking about taking a year off from school.
Each of these statements shares a lot of information about yourself. They also provide multiple topics to branch off into. And finally, they bring a sense of creativity and spontaneous-ness to the conversation.
There are three other tips that I could cover but, each one has so much information that it would literally take me an entire post to cover.
#5 We could talk about humour, which is an extremely complicated way to dance and play with your words.
#6 We could talk about storytelling, which is essentially telling a captivating and exciting story that will allow strangers to jump into your world.
#7 Or we could talk about how to have a deep conversation, which is an essential tool for building long-lasting, valuable, relationships.
What I'd like for you guys to do, is to comment below and let me know which post you want me to work on next. Remember, conversation is a skill, and just like any skill, there is value to learning it. But the most growth will be experienced when you actually go out there and you practice what you've learned. By applying some of the tips and tricks that we cover today, you'll see a massive improvement in your future conversations.