The importance of conversation skills: these skills can be the difference between having great friends, connections, and experiences and...not.
Today we're going to cover how to improve conversation skills. You can start using these 8 powerful tips today.
Let's dive in:
(These first two tips will help your conversation skills before you even open your mouth!)
Many of my readers ask me about how to make conversation.
A conversation that feels natural and smooth.
Good news: These are learnable skills.
Having great conversation skills that you can "turn on" at a moments notice matter when you're:
The better you are with these soft interactions, the better your career, business and social life's trajectory will be.
And the best part?
These skills compound over time.
Like investing in a 401K, the more connections you make, the easier it is to call up good friends, find jobs fast, and get introduced to more people who can change your life.
Here are 5 tips that you can use starting today to make better, more memorable conversations.
Every one of these skills are effective individually, but when you stack them together, they become extremely powerful.
How to never run out of things to say...ah, this may be the holy grail of people skills...
If you've ever had your mind spontaneously go blank in the middle of a conversation, then you know this feeling...
Searching your mind for something...anything to say. Yet, the harder you try to come up with something, the less you have to say.
Then the awkward silence creeps in...you might think to yourself:
"Why does my mind go blank all the time?"
That overthinking vortex sucks.
I'm here to help.
Recently I've received messages from people who are struggling with their minds going blank.
How can we craft a powerful message?
A message that says everything we need to say in a neat package?
A message that can inspire everyone from your small team at work, to tens of thousands when you're behind the camera or mic?
On this episode of Become More Compelling Radio, my friend Nicole Schwegman (@bffwiththechef on IG) is going to walk us through crafting a powerful, clear message.
Think of this episode as media training 101.
"But Jeff, I'm not media facing in my company, should I listen to this episode?"
Many of Nicole's tips will absolutely help if you're sitting down with media. (TV, Radio, Podcasts, etc.) But the lessons here are 100% applicable to you if you've ever:
More about Nicole:
Nicole Schwegman is a public affairs officer in the U.S. military. She’s served in the Navy for nearly 16 years where she’s had the opportunity to help media train some of American’s most senior military leaders.
She is also a home chef, food enthusiast and the host of BFF with the Chef, the podcast that aims to make home cooks better in the kitchen by sharing cheffy insights from each week's culinary guest.
Disclaimer for this show: Nicole's opinions expressed in this episode are her own, they do NOT reflect the views or opinions of the U.S. military.
Listen to Nicole's podcast BFF with the Chef here
When I became self-employed, it was a huge shift.
Gone were coworkers, office small talk, and happy hours.
Instead, it was just me.
And the cat.
At first, it was nice.
"Finally, I can just put my head down and do the work!" I thought.
But, after a couple of months, I realized "Holy crap! I might accidentally become a hermit if I'm not careful."
When you're trying to learn (or in my case re-learn) how to be more social, it's effective to have a few tips to help you get on the right track.
These tips will help whether you're
Here's a sample of crappy advice you WON'T find in this article:
Here are 8 ways to be more social starting TODAY.
You feel it...the death of your conversation.
"Some get the crash cart!!!"
You're standing there, it feels like hours since you've spoken. The ice in your drink slowly melts.
We've all been there, wondering how to keep a conversation going when:
When we can keep that conversation going, we can make new friends, better job opportunities, and become more successful.
So how do we do it?
Here are 8 ways to keep a conversation going & destroy awkward pauses forever:
If you've ever wondered how to make a great first impression you're not alone.
Here are a few messages from my readers who want to master first impressions.
It’s okay if you’ve made some cringe worthy first impressions.
Take this gem from my wife:
A few years ago she was at her boss' house for a party.
She was joking around with some of her coworkers, who were on the other side of the room.
She playfully extends her middle finger.
At that PRECISE MOMENT her boss' father turns around and intercepts the middle finger.
I imagine that space and time slowed down while my wife watched him go through different emotions. Confusion, disbelief, denial, shock, sadness, and finally disdain.
After the fabric of reality had stabilized, he looked away while saying "How RUDE."
This story makes me laugh every time.
First impressions are crucial:
Here’s the deal with first impressions: after people make up their mind about you, (Some studies say in as little as 1/10th of a second) they use confirmation bias to only look for evidence to back up their initial impression.
I’m not here to sugar coat things. I’m here to supercharge your people skills.
So what can you do to reliably create great first impressions with almost everyone you meet?
Here Are 8 Uncommon Tips To Make A Great First Impression
It all starts with your mindset because 80% of the work is done before you ever shake hands...
What top performers do:
1. Get barely enough information.
2. Don't overthink it.
3. Act rapidly.
When you're learning how to communicate with confidence, it's crucial to take action quickly. The great thing about people skills is that you get plenty of chances to practice.
Let's talk about a time where I wasn't a top performer...
Ever notice how life seems effortless for people who have a little extra confidence?
So what's the deal? Are these people mutants who have these unattainable traits that you can't have?
Whether you’re leading a meeting, pitching a new client, or starting conversations at happy hour, confident communication is one of the most important skills you can have.
Each of the following three skill is powerful but I recommend stacking all three skills for maximum impact.
1. Eliminate Qualifying Words
Confident communication killers
You're in a meeting, your boss asks you a straightforward question about next steps on a project.
"Well, I just think that we maybe should consider...”
You trail off.
Somewhere I am softly weeping while lighting a candle in memory of your fallen confidence and credibility.
Did you water down your message until it's unrecognizable?
(This is a "hidden truth" that almost NO ONE acknowledges, but everyone feels.)
When we use timid language we get timid results...the ripple effects are wide-ranging:
In the short term, we may not persuade people at the meeting, but spread out over 20-30 years, it can have a gigantic impact on our life's trajectory.
So what can we do to fix it? I want you to repeat after me:
“It is okay to present myself confidently.”
Step one: admitting to yourself that it's OKAY to test a new approach.
Step two: addition by subtraction. In most cases, you'll delete confidence undercutting words from your vocabulary.
This is simple, but not easy.
At first, you'll use the same timid words, only this time, you'll notice them.
Over time, you'll be able to use alternatives or (in most cases) stop using those qualifying words altogether.
Use this action step to help:
Over the last few months I’ve received dozens of emails from people who are struggling with how to have better group conversations.
This guide will help you when it comes to:
Tell me if these ring true for you:
“I just feel like I’ll be bothering them if I walk up and start talking…”
“What if they all know each other?!”
“I don’t want to have to be LOUD and interrupt people! it’s just not who I am...”
That’s why I created this guide for you, to help you smoothly join a group so that you can…
...meaningfully contribute to group conversations at work without feeling awkward and self conscious.
...Easily make new friends and contacts at a conference.
...feel comfortable and enjoy group conversations at a party.
And on a deeper level:
...have options of who you surround yourself with. Which as it turns out, has a huge influence on success
...feel like you are the kind of person who can thrive in social situations (which will make it more likely that you will thrive even more in group conversations, creating a virtuous cycle)
In this guide you’ll find some of the best strategies for joining and contributing in group conversations.
To create this guide, I pulled from my experience having 90,000 conversations over 11 years...but I knew that wouldn’t be enough.
I also did a LOT of research into what works and what doesn’t.
You don’t have to look in 100 different places and piece together quality, actionable information.
It’s all right here for you.
Let’s swan-dive in…
Hey, I'm Jeff.
I'll help you supercharge your people skills so that you can have a more fulfilling career,
business & social life.
Over the last 13 years, I’ve learned... (Read More)
• 8 Uncommon Tips To Make A Great First Impression
• The Ultimate Guide To Joining & Enjoying Group Conversations
• How to Never Run Out of Things to Say