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.
In This Article, You'll Learn...
Let's dive in: Watch the video below, or read on...your call!
(These first two tips will help your conversation skills before you even open your mouth!)
Knowing how to introduce people is a great skill to have.
Example: A friend's wedding.
At the reception, after grabbing a fresh drink, I saw my former co-worker, Michael.
He stood up and walked over, shook my hand, and we talked for a few minutes about the World Series.
As our conversation was wrapping up, he said "Hey! Let me introduce you to my wife."
What I was expecting: To walk over and be introduced with a simple "Hey, this is my buddy, Jeff."
Andre Agassi - eight-time Grand Slam Champion, Olympic gold medalist, and owner of possibly the best hair in the history of sports - knows a little something about hard work and success, and a lot about what makes a good coach.
My favorite quote from his autobiography “Open” is:
“A great coach can lead you to a place where you don't need him anymore.”
This is as true in life as it is in sports.
Whether you’re talking about a personal trainer, an executive coach, or a social coach, the ultimate goal is to train and up your skillset until you have a foundation to work from.
Having a solid foundation in the basics gives you the confidence you need to practice and build your social skills and achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.
You have to learn how to dribble before you’re doing trick shots!
So how can a social coach help you improve socially?
What does building a strong foundation in social skills look like?
It looks a lot like this...
Early in Kobe Bryant’s career, legendary coach Phil Jackson pulled him aside one day and encouraged him to spend more time with his teammates rather than in his hotel room studying game tape.
By 2009, Kobe was a leader on the court and in the locker room.
The Lakers won a championship that season.
As a social skills coach, I love that lesson - that all of us (whether we like it or not) - connected to and influenced by others.
But let’s dig a little deeper...
What made Kobe great?
All those things matter, but every other elite NBA player did those things too.
So what was Kobe’s secret weapon?
He realized that he didn’t have to do it all on his own.
He had his team and coaches there to support him.
No one is a 10/10 in ALL areas of life. - we all need help from our peers, our mentors, and our coaches.
Today, I'm turning 33! As my gift to you, here are 33 people skill tips that I've learned over the last 14 years.
1. Dialing up your energy a bit (+10%) when you’re being social makes it easier to have a good time.
2. Being curious will help you be interested in other people.
3. No one can mind-read. They have no clue what you’re thinking. You have no idea what they are thinking.
4. The spotlight effect is real. We all tend to overestimate the amount that other people notice and observe us.
5. It’s possible to view the same event 2 different ways. Ex: You say “Hi”. They brush past you instead of saying “Hi”. Negative view: “They must be mad at me.” Positive view: “They must be preoccupied, they probably didn’t hear me.”
What do LeBron James, Serena Williams, and Mike Trout all have in common?
They all make millions of dollars by tossing or hitting a ball?
They all have coaches.
Behind every top performer someone who can give that person perspective that they need.
Sure, pro athletes have coaches, but what if you're wanting to perform at a high level in your business, career, or social life?
Is there such a thing as a social confidence coach?
Cough...I am one...cough.
I want to walk you through 4 ways a social confidence coach can help you level up your social skills.
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...
I have great news for you:
In this article, you'll learn:
After reading this article, you'll be able to make conversation with the best of 'em.
Let's dive in...
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
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…
Have you ever been at a conference, a cookout, or a networking event and you felt that twinge that says "You should talk to that person".
At this point, like a split in the road we have two choices:
A. Check your instagram for the 231st time today.
B. Start that conversation.
When we meet new people, we get to expand our circle of people. This could lead to a business partnership, a new best friend, or a new client. But you'll never know unless you open your mouth.
There’s a phrase my mentor likes to say:
“90% of the work is done before you enter the room.”
It’s easier to start a conversation after you’ve had a successful conversation.
But how do you start those conversations?
Enter Conversational Muscle Memory.
Conversational Muscle Memory is built on the idea that when you start small, low-stakes conversations throughout your day, it's easier to start more conversations because you’ve built momentum.
Once you’ve built that momentum, it’ll be easier to start a conversation with that one person you really want to talk to at happy hour.
I explain more in this video:
On this episode of BMC Radio, the podcast where I help you supercharge your charisma and people skills I have my friend Paul Sanders (@PaulSandersSCP) from Get The Friends You Want.
Paul Sanders is a friendship & social skills coach, and author of the "Get The Friends You Want" book. He helps people overcome social hesitation, master conversation and social skills, make friends and build a social circle.
In an age where human connection seems to be tipping more screen than face, I think honing your friendship skills is only getting more important, especially if you're working remote, or starting a business and don't have the traditional 9-5 office culture to fall back on.
In this conversation, we talk about how to build a friendship circle, how to easily connect and build rapport with many different types of people, books on social dynamics, and much more.
Free gift for BMC listeners:
7 Most Common Mistakes Peoples People Make When They Try To Improve Their Social Life (And How To Avoid Them)
On this episode of Become More Compelling Radio, I'd like to introduce you to my friend Rob Riker (@robertgriker) from The Social Winner.
Over the last few months, I've seen a lot of questions about making friends...
This podcast will answer all these questions and more. If you've ever wanted a solid strategy around making new friends and connections, this podcast episode is for you. After listening, you'll be able to make new friends on command.
Rob has been featured in Business Insider, Lifehack, The Friend Formula, and Tiny Buddha.
I like Rob's insights on friendship and creating a fulfilling, lasting social circle:
Free gift for BMC readers:
19:56 - How to bridge the gap between acquaintances and meeting up a second time
26:15 - The crucial time to swap contact info
34:29 - Should you initiate plans with friends or wait for them to initiate plans?
I'll help you supercharge your people skills so that you can have a more fulfilling career,
business & social life.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve learned... (Read More)
• 5 Ways a Communication Coach Can Help You Become a Better Communicator
• The Ultimate Guide To Joining & Enjoying Group Conversations
• How to Never Run Out of Things to Say