Do you struggle in social situations?
Research has shown that people who have regular conversations are much happier compared to those who don’t talk at all. Being able to communicate with people is a fundamental skill that will make you successful in all walks of life, yet, for some bizarre reason, we are never taught how to do it!
There is an assumption in our society that we don’t need to learn how to communicate because we are all born with the ability to do so. However, in my experience as the number one dating coach in America for the past four years, this widespread belief is simply not true. In fact, when guys ask me to help them with their dating lives, I always begin with their communication skills.
If you struggle to talk with people and interact in social situations, then I’m here to help! I’m going to share some of the tips from the consultations that I have had with many clients over the years. By mastering these techniques, you will dramatically improve your conversational skills and the overall quality of your life.
Everything in your life will become easier when you communicate better. You will feel more confident about approaching women and meeting your ideal partner, you will work more effectively with others and enjoy more promotions as a result, and you will be more appreciated and respected by the people in your social circle as you develop into a natural leader.
Why do so many guys have poor communication skills?
Before we get to the tips that I promised you, I want to talk about the biggest obstacle that most people face in social situations: FEAR. Many people (particularly men) hold back from talking because they are scared of looking like a fool. They take themselves far too seriously.
Carlos Castaneda, the father of the new age movement, references an important lesson that he learned from his Yaqui Indian mentor, Don Juan, in “Journey to Ixtlan.” What Castaneda learned was the value of losing self-importance. Although he wrote about this in the 1960s, the advice couldn’t be more relevant today.
In modern society, people place way too much importance on their status. They’re terrified of looking silly and feeling embarrassed. Because of this fear, they are forced into their shells. If you want to get better at talking to anyone, then you need to get better at talking to everyone.
You need to have conversations with the person next to you on the subway. You need to smile and greet the people who you pass while walking down the street. You need to chat with the lady who serves you at your local grocery. Talking to people is a skill, and as with all skills, practice makes perfect. Here are three tips that I encourage you to practice.
Tip #1: Be more curious.
The single most important thing that you can do to master the art of conversation is to be more curious about other people. Every single person who you meet has a story. Like Carlos Castaneda, you need to become an explorer and discover what makes other people unique.
One of the simplest exercises for developing this skill is people-watching.
Whether you are enjoying breakfast at a café or going out with some friends to a club, pay attention to the people around you. What is their story? Where are they from? Where are they going? What is happening in their lives?
When you do this regularly, your curiosity will become so compelling that you will end up approaching people and having a conversation with them just to find out if you were right about their story. When you feel that internal drive to talk with people and discover more about them, then you will know that you have struck gold. Now you are ready to become a master conversationalist.
Tip #2: Know your own story.
As you ask people questions to discover their story, you will find that they will often direct these questions back to you. This is always a very positive sign because it means that you have captured their interest. At this point, it is very important that you have deep insight into your own story.
The key to any compelling story is passion, so what are you passionate about?
One of the exercises that I often work on with clients is to help them identify six areas in their life that they are passionate about. These areas are things that you can do right now! Simply grab something to write with and make a note of three short-term passions and three long-term passions.
Short-term passions are things that have captured your interest in the past few weeks. It might be a a book that you read or an upcoming adventure that you have planned. Long-term passions are things that have guided your life for several years. It might be your commitment to health and fitness, a business venture that you have been working on, or your love of travel.
By clarifying your passions, you will find that it is much easier to have meaningful conversations with people because you will understand your own story more clearly. You may also be surprised by how much you have in common with other people when they share their stories.
There’s nothing magical or manipulative about this. When you are clear about your passions, you will naturally move your conversations towards those particular topics. This is particularly important if you want to improve your dating life, since women are attracted to passionate men.
Tip #3: Be interested to be interesting.
People worry so much about being interesting and having something to say. However, the key to being interesting isn’t talking a lot. It’s actually the opposite: encouraging other people to talk a lot by finding out what is interesting about them.
Many people try to get along by playing it safe and talking about superficial stuff. However, while it may feel more comfortable to stick to small talk, it is never very interesting. Some people use a different approach: they spout off a bunch of their own stories to appear more interesting or avoid awkward silences. Needless to say, droning on and on will make you boring, not interesting.
So if both of these approaches are flawed, then what should you do?
Simple: go beyond the small talk and encourage other people to open up. When you get to someone’s very core – the stuff that makes them interesting – then they will automatically see you as interesting too.
When you identify what is interesting about someone else, you need to cement it by qualifying them. Qualifying someone simply means that you tell them that you approve of whatever it is that makes them interesting. The easiest way to qualify someone is by giving them a compliment. But be careful: not every compliment is a good compliment!
A lot of people are lazy and rely on generic compliments that could be given to anyone. However, if you can make your compliment very specific to the person you are chatting with, then you will enjoy a much better reaction.
For example, if you are having a conversation with a girl and she starts talking about her most recent overseas trip, then you could compliment her adventurous spirit. You might say something like, “Wow, that’s awesome. I really look up to adventurous people. I can see that that’s something very important to you as well.”
A compliment like that has the added benefit of shaping her towards being adventurous, but this is an advanced topic outside of the scope of this particular article. However, if you would like to learn more about shaping and other advanced techniques that will help you master the art of conversation, then take a look at my other articles.