I was going to start this post with a nice story, but I know sometimes people would prefer if articles just cut to the chase, so here are the 3 tricks.
1. LISTEN TO LEARN — and have conversations flow
– A bad listener prioritizes on discussing about his own experience.
– A good listener prioritizes on learning about the other person’s experience.
I’m all for practical examples that you can relate to, because non-actionable advice annoys me. So let’s start with one.
Let’s pretend your friend is going to Europe next week. Her name is Martha. She likes vanilla lattes from Starbucks. I’m more of a Peet’s guy, but whatever.
Now let’s also pretend you just went to Europe and stuffed your face with baguettes (that’s a joke) last week. As Martha is telling you about her itinerary and plans, instead of waiting to see if she is going to any of the cities/places/cafes you went to, put yourself in her shoes by asking yourself:
– Why is she going?
– What will it do for her?
– Is it a vacation?
– How will it make her feel?
Only after you have made these conversations should you talk about your own experience. Your main goal should be, what’s in it for THEM. What will it do for THEM. Thinking this way allows you to understand them on a deeper level and UNDERSTAND them.
Here’s an easy way to show you understand them using what I call The I Imagine maneuver.
Take what you know about what it’s going to do for them (by envisioning putting yourself in their shoes) and add that to this sentence:
“Oh that’s really cool [insert their name]. I imagine that is going to [insert whatever it’s going to do for them]. It’s probably going to [insert something else you know it will do].”
Once she realizes that you understand the FEELING it will give her. Home run.
Easy action steps:
– Wait until the other person is done speaking before you speak
– Put yourself in the other person’s shoes when you speak to them
– Ask yourself, “Why is this important to them?”
– Understand their perspective
You’re listening to LEARN not listening to TALK. There’s a stark difference.
2. MACRO OR MICRO — so you never run out of things to say
Take any word from their sentence and branch off by going micro or macro on the subject. This allows you to never run out of things to say.
Let’s pretend someone just said the following and you have no idea what to say:
“I just went to the park this past weekend with friends.”
There’s keywords here that we can branch from.
I just went to the park this past weekend with friends.
Pick whichever word you have most in common with or are comfortable discussing and go macro/micro.
Let’s look at the word park.
– Macro: What other parks have you been to?
– Micro: What did you do in the park?
See how we can zoom out or in on the subject?
We can go macro or micro with any word while branching. This helps us never run out of things to say.
Let’s do friends.
– Macro: What other parks have you been to with your friends?
– Micro: Which friends did you go with?
The choice is yours and that’s the beauty of this trick. You can steer the convo in whatever direction you want.
3. EVOKE EMOTION — to connect with anyone
Most of what we do is based on emotion. What we buy. The people we hang out with.
You and I may or may not have common interests, but the emotions we share are in common.
To find commonality, you have to be honest about who you are. Speak openly about your passions and what you love to allow yourself to develop that EMOTIONAL connection with someone.
– I like to bike, but I hate running.
– You like to run, but you hate biking.
We clearly would never workout together, but we do share the conclusion.
The great feeling after working out. But I would have never known this if you just tried to be agreeable and liked the things I liked. You come off much more authentic and real when you are honest about who you are and what you like. This realness is what led to us knowing we had a connection on an emotional level. See what I mean?
Stop and think:
– How does it make you FEEL?
– Why do you LOVE it?
– Does it SCARE you?
– Does it make you MAD?
– Does it SURPRISE you?
Evoking emotion in your conversations allows you to go deeper and develop that connection. This can be with friends or on a date. The science is the same.
Have you used any similar tricks that have worked for you?