How to End a Conversation Like a Pro

There is a subtle art to ending a conversation smoothly, just as there is to starting it and keeping it going. Sometimes you instinctively know how to end a conversation and trust you will do it well. Other times though you may find yourself stuck in a discussion you wanna get out of, but you don’t know how to do it.

Drawing from my social experience and my communication coaching practice, I wanna cut to the core of this issue and give you some key ideas for ending conversations effortlessly in a variety of situations.

Realize That Most People Will Understand

When I talk with coaching clients about ending conversations, they often express serious concerns about what the other person will think if they end the conversation. They fear the other person will think they don’t enjoy talking to them, they will feel abandoned, or they will find their action rude.

I will tell you what I typically tell them as well: in my experience, most people are really very understanding when you end a conversation. They don’t take it personally, they don’t get offended. Even when you end a discussion because it’s utterly tedious, rarely will the other person think that is the reason (unless you actually say so, which, as we’ll see, is not advised).

Keep this in mind whenever you wanna finish a conversation. It will make it much easier to do it without second-guessing yourself.

Give a Real or a Relatable Motive

convoIt’s good to give a brief explanation when you end a conversation, as a polite way to excuse yourself out of it. Usually I recommend that you get clear on the true reason you wanna end the conversation, and you state that reason candidly. Honesty works wonders most of the time.

However, there are situations where the real reason is likely to offend the other person. In such situations, an exception applies. “Excuse me, this conversation is boring me to death” is rarely a smart way to exit a discussion, even if that is the true reason.

In such situations, I suggest that you close the conversation giving a motive the other person can relate to but has nothing to do with them. A reason they’ve likely had in the past as well, and they can understand. For example:

  • “Well, I have to go. I have a meeting to get too.” – works great when you run into somebody on the street.
  • “Excuse me, I wanna make sure I say hello to somebody.” – useful for most social events where you know at least one other person.
  • “Excuse me, I promised myself to mingle a bit at this party.” – who can’t relate to trying to be social, right?
  • “Excuse me; I wanna go grab another drink.” – and then you don’t have to return to the same person.
  • “I have to go to the restroom.” – a classic.

Use Conversation Pauses to Make Your Exit

Most conversations have moments when they run out of steam, and thus brief silences occur. If you wanna finish a conversation, such a moment is an excellent opportunity to do so.

A pause in a conversation is like the end of a book chapter. And just like if you’re gonna put a book down for a while it’s best to do it at the end of a chapter, it’s good to end a discussion when a break in it appears. You don’t even have to say much in such a scenario. I usually end it with something like: “Well, I’ll see you around”, and then walk away.

Of course, some people are so talkative you hardly get a good break in the conversation. In such cases you’ll have to be more sudden in ending it, when the smallest break occurs, and then you many wanna give a reason.

Introduce the Person to Someone Else

One common concern people have about ending conversations at social events has to do with leaving the other person hanging. You move to something or somebody else, while the other person just sits there, sucking on their finger or whatever.

That’s why a good way to get out of a conversation is to introduce the person you’re talking to, to somebody else in the room. Just say something like “Hey, let me introduce you to somebody you’ll really love to meet”. Then take them to the other person, make the introduction and try to get a conversation going between the two of them.

As that conversation picks up, you can gently extract yourself from it. Provided they really get into the conversation, often they won’t even notice your exit. Thus you connect two people, and you get out of a conversation without leaving anybody hanging.

But, Why Do You Wanna End a Conversation Anyway?

It’s worth addressing one more thorny issue, which involves the usual reason why you wanna end conversations in the first place.

Coaching others in improving their conversation style, I often find that they wanna learn how to end a conversation, not because they wanna be able to switch conversation partners, or exit a discussion when pressed for time, but rather because many conversations make them anxious, so ending them is their way of coping with that anxiety.

However, when a social interaction makes you anxious or self-conscious, it’s actually a very bad idea to end it. It may give you some momentary relief, but it also perpetuates and reinforces your social insecurities. So it keeps you struggling with having long, meaningful interactions with people, and it makes it very hard to build lasting relationships.

Instead of seeking to end conversations when they make you anxious, what you wanna do is learn how to soothe your anxiety, and how to keep conversations going. The best strategy is to remove your nervousness, not to remove yourself from conversations.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Anxiety in social situations is not something you can get rid of just like that. You need an effective strategy to soothe social anxiety. So going further, I wanna give you such a strategy, in the form of a free instructional video.

Go here and make sure you watch this video, where I will show you how to overcome your nervousness in social settings and make effortless conversation, using a proven formula that my coaching clients have been using successfully for years. You might wanna join my free social advice newsletter as well.

When you can be at ease conversing with anyone for as long as you want, and you can also excuse yourself elegantly from a conversation whenever you want, you are in the possession of two very important abilities.

With them you can navigate conversations effortlessly, be more social, meet new people and connect with them in a meaningful way.

4 Myths about Conversation and One Crucial Truth

I think many people have some off-track ideas about conversation and how it’s supposed to be done, which sabotage their social interactions and social life.

Based on my social and coaching experience, I’d like to debunk 4 such common conversation myths, then underline an important truth, and hopefully help you gain a better understanding of both yourself and the subtle art of conversation. Let’s start with the 4 myths.

Myth 1: Conversation Means Just Small Talk

Small talk – like chatting about the weather or how good the coffee you’re having is – is a frequently present part of conversation. But that’s not what conversation is all about. Ideally, small talk should only be one component of a conversation.

Small talk is a great way to break the ice with somebody, to ease your way into a conversation. It’s also something that’s good to have sprinkled all throughout a conversation. But a good conversation is not just small talk. On the contrary, it involves discussing meaningful and highly engaging topics at least as much.

It is true that some people tend to just stick to small talk, but they are not the example to follow. These people are generally uncomfortable with deeper conversation because they fear it will expose their shortcomings or turn into some sort of argument. However, the best conversationalists combine small talk with deeper conversation. They’re the right model.

Myth 2: Small Talk Is a Waste of Time

Group of multiracial friends with barbecue and beer bottle enjoying their vacationSo small talk is a part of conversation though. However, simply because it’s about banal topics does not make it worthless.

I find that people who don’t get the point of small talk are typically not seeing one important aspect of conversation. For them a discussion is strictly about learning something or being intellectually stimulated; and small talk does little in that sense.

However, conversation is also a form of social play. When conversation is play, the topic is not very important. It’s the vibe going on between the two or more people discussing that matters. I can talk with someone about cheese nips and have a satisfying conversation. Because the emotional exchange is the important part, not the informational exchange.

If you’re not used to seeing and making conversation as a form of social play, it’s time you begin trying to do so. You’re missing out on an amazing experience if you don’t.

Myth 3: Conversation Means Being Fake

Ammm, no! Sure, some people are mostly fake during conversation, pretending to like things they don’t, to be someone they’re not, in order to please whomever they’re talking to. But not everybody is like that, and again, such folks are not the example to follow.

Because conversation is not about trying to please others. It’s about seeking a mutually rewarding interaction with somebody. And if you can’t have that kind of an interaction with a person, that’s fine too. It’s okay to just drop it.

If you have to be fake for somebody to enjoy your company, it’s usually not worth it for you, so you shouldn’t try to make conversation that way.

I often help my coaching clients develop a more genuine and articulate style of conversation. Throughout this process, they constantly discover how enjoyable it is when you’re being real with others, and how it truly pays off.

Myth 4: People Are Too Stupid To Talk To

I hear a lot of men and women complain about how others are idiots, they have nothing interesting to say, and all they talk about is movies, TV, or celebrity gossip.

I’d definitely love it for more people to have more exciting lives and be more interesting to talk to. But at the same time, I do find lots of smart and fascinating people. In fact my social circle is full of them.

But you have to talk to a lot of people and interact with some of the less interesting people as well to discover who the more interesting ones are. And many times an apparently dim and dull person ends up being quite intelligent and intriguing once you get a chance to truly know them.

So not all people are stupid or boring; and some people being less than what you’d like them to be is not an excuse for avoiding social interaction.

This leads me to my final point, relating to one question:

Why Do Many People Buy Into These 4 Myths?

Why is it that many folks believe this baloney about making conversation?

Part of it has to do with a lack of social experience, which creates a lack of true understanding of conversation, which leaves plenty of room for false ideas to come in. And there are many sources for such ideas out there.

Many people’s ideas about talking to others come from a combination of movies, cheesy self-help articles and guidance from socially awkward friends. And they’re just very off.

There is a deeper aspect to this issue though. Working regularly with people with less than fulfilling social relationships, I often find that they use ideas such as the 4 myths above as excuses to avoid social interaction and justify their paltry social lives.

But the real reason they avoid social interaction is because they find interacting with others nerve-racking. They are shy or socially anxious, and conversing with others is not easy for them. So they avoid it. The 4 myths come afterwards as rationalizations, or backfiring attempts to comfort themselves by making themselves seem superior to others for not being as sociable.

If this is you, it’s crucial for you to understand that, with some proper guidance, you can overcome your social insecurities and you don’t have to let them paralyze you. But you’ve got to take responsibility for your life and stop making excuses for avoiding social situations.

Instead of making excuses, you gotta admit that you wanna have a better social life, and then focus on working to develop the social confidence & skills that will allow you to do it.

And I can help you with that. The first thing I suggest you do is check out this practical presentation, in which I’ll show you my highly-optimized method for developing social confidence, used over the past 5+ years by hundreds of people I’ve coached. You’ll learn a lot from it.

Also, join my free social confidence newsletter for more practical advice from me for improving your confidence and conversation skills.

Truth be told, no loner is genuinely pleased with being a loner. Life isn’t only about socializing, but social relationships are a very important component of life, and a huge predictor of life satisfaction. It’s worth taking care of this aspect of your life.

You can do it! The ball is in your court.

How to Be Memorable in 4 Practical Steps

As a species, we human beings are outstandingly social creatures. We crave companionship and connection. We love to be accepted, appreciated and admired by others. But perhaps one of the most fascinating social desires we have is the desire to be memorable.

We want others to remember us, to think about us, and to recognize us immediately when they meet us again. Having a place in their memory makes us feel proud, makes us feel valued, and sometimes it almost makes us feel immortal through their reminiscence of us.

The subject of being memorable often comes up in discussions with my communication coaching clients. I’d like to share with you 4 key pieces of advice on how to be memorable that I often discuss with them.

1. Start with the Way You Dress

I had a period when I used to wear colored hats a lot. Almost everywhere I went, I had a colored hat on my head. That taught me a valuable lesson about clothing: dressing in a unique way can really get you noticed and remembered.

People would constantly comment about my hat. They’d first get curious about it, then they’d get curious about me. After seeing me once, many would recognize me on the spot the next time they saw me due to the hat.

I even learned that some people would talk about me after having met me at some event, but they hadn’t remembered my name, so they would just describe me as “the guy with the colored hat”. The other person would instantly say: “Oh yeah, I know who you’re talking about”.

I’m not suggesting that you should dress in a really outlandish way. But having just one or two interesting and unique items on you can make you a lot more memorable. You’ll easily stand out from your average person, who dresses in a bland and unremarkable way.

2. Say Things Others Don’t Dare To Say

Hanging upside down is funThere are crucial truths that most of us need to hear, but we rarely do. Because others don’t want to upset us, get rejected, or seem impolite.

That’s one of the reasons many companies hire coaches and consultants: to tell key employees what nobody inside the company dares to tell them; to give them honest and complete feedback.

If you tell people what nobody else dares to tell them, you’re guaranteed to be remembered by them. Being very honest is great for becoming memorable.

In order to be so honest though, you need to be able to risk upsetting people. It’s worth taking this risk, but to be able to do so you need a solid dose of social confidence; which few people have. This is why most folks play it safe with others and hide the truth when honesty is risky.

Gaining social confidence is something I’ve coached many people in achieving. Based on my 6+ years of cumulated experience, I’ve created a practical presentation in which I will show you step by step how to gain social confidence fast, so you can be more straightforward with people. If this is something you sometimes struggle with, you’ll find this presentation very useful. So go here and watch it right now.

3. Notice Subtle Details about People

When you can observe and point out something to somebody that few people notice about them, or maybe even they’re not aware of, you’ve hit the jackpot.

You don’t necessarily have to notice something positive, and thus pay them a unique compliment (although you get bonus points for that). The main thing is to notice something subtle and make an insightful comment. For example: “Have you noticed that when I say something you agree with, you tend to start knocking with the tip of your fingers on the table? It’s cool how you do that.”

People love it when others notice subtle things about them. It makes them feel appreciated, and it shows you’re a keen observer, which is a rare quality. That makes noticing subtle details a great path to being memorable. So start paying more attention to others when interacting with them, and help them feel unique. You’ll be handsomely rewarded.

4. Help Others in a Big Way

Helping someone in a big way involves being there for them when they need you the most, and providing them what they need the most at that time. This can be emotional support, financial aid, proper guidance, etc.

It entails going beyond small acts of kindness like getting someone a box of chocolates (which most people can do), and doing something more meaningful for them. You have to exert yourself to help someone in a big way. But that’s exactly what makes it very effective as a way to be remembered.

People rarely forget big gestures done for them. When they look back at years or decades of their life, the persons they remember above all are the ones who contributed to their life in a significant way. You wanna be such a person for a good number of people.

Knowing how to be memorable and being so definitely have their benefits. And it’s not just about getting your ego stroked. When you’re memorable, since people pay a lot more attention to you, you have a special channel wide open to influence them. You have a genuine chance to change the life of other people. That’s the real benefit.

For more social success advice from me, please join my free social confidence newsletter.

How to Win an Argument and Do It with Style

My argumentation and persuasion skills were the very first communication skills I ever became interested in developing. This was many years ago, back in high-school, when I decided to join my school’s debate and public speaking club. Looking back, that was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Since then I’ve had a lot of experience in both formal and informal argumentation and debate, and I’ve honed my persuasion skills to the nth degree. I’ve learned a few important lessons concerning how to behave during an argument and how to win an argument, which I wanna share with you. Here they are:

1. Make Sure You’re Standing On Firm Ground

A lot of us have very strong opinions on topics we actually know very little about. We delude ourselves that we have a firm grasp on these topics, and thus our opinions are correct. So we’re quick to jump into an argument with anybody who doesn’t share our opinions, certain that we’ll be able to show them we’re right.

I’ve seen many arguments between a person with weak knowledge on the topic being discussed (but very opinionated nonetheless) and a person who was a near expert on that topic (plus a sharp orator). It’s like seeing a lamb in the slaughterhouse (the lamb being the former person). Just brutal!

This is why it’s key to make sure you are knowledgeable on a subject and your ideas are carefully thought-out before getting into a debate on that subject. This means to be standing on firm ground. Don’t assume you know all and you’re always right. Don’t engage in quarrels on topics you lack a firm grasp on. Arrogance is the biggest weakness during arguments.

2. Learn To Apply Solid Reasoning

The building blocks of persuasion are solid reasoning skills.

In order to be convincing, you need to know how to tie together ideas, facts and evidence in a way that makes them logically lead to the conclusion you wanna prove. You also need to be able to see and expose the flaws in the other person’s logic. This is what solid reasoning enables you to do.

I encourage you to study the field of logic, learn how to build logical arguments and how to identify logical errors. Then employ this knowledge as much as you can, and with practice, you’ll develop fast, reliable reasoning skills. Thus you’ll be able to prove your points and disprove contrary points convincingly.

3. Show Respect towards the Other Person

debateSolid arguments are important, but they are not enough to win an argument. If you don’t treat the person you’re arguing with in a respectful way, it doesn’t matter how strong your case is: you won’t win the argument.

Nobody wants to give into the ideas of somebody who is acting like a jerk. Even if deep down they know you’re right, if they feel disrespected they are likely to resist your arguments simply because they don’t wanna feel that someone who disrespected them won the debate.

Unfortunately, we often tend to become rude during arguments. It’s important to keep this tendency in check. Listen to the other person, try not to interrupt them, agree with them when they are indeed right, don’t give them condescending looks, don’t mock them and don’t insult them. Just because you’re arguing with someone, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it reverently.

4. Always Keep Calm and Composed

Speaking of respect, one of the main reasons why we sometimes end up being rude during an argument is because we get pissed off. And when we do it’s much harder to behave civilly.

Other times we get nervous, which makes it hard to think straight, which makes it hard to reason properly, so there goes our persuasive power in the dispute. That’s why it’s crucial to able to stay calm and composed.

In order to stay calm and composed during an argument, you need to address the root of your anger or anxiety and do some effective emotional management. This is a pretty serious and complex topic, so instead of addressing here, I created a special presentation where I discuss it in more detail.

So I suggest you go here and watch this presentation. In it I describe how negative emotions like anger and social anxiety arise, and how to deal with them in order to be calm and confident, not just during arguments, but in all sorts of social situations.

5. Know When to Cut Your Loses

You can’t win all arguments. In fact there are many arguments you can get into that you have almost zero chances of winning. Not because you don’t have a strong case, but because the other person is too emotionally invested in their own point of view. They desperately need to believe they are right.

There comes a point in these arguments, sometimes a few minutes in, sometimes just a few seconds in, when you can realize that you’re in a dispute you can’t win. Many times we blindly pass that point; because we don’t wanna accept that it’s time to give up.

But if you put your ego aside and you pay attention, you’ll be able to spot that point, and you’ll know when to back out of an argument and cut your losses, because you’re wasting your time going further with it. It’s not easy to do it, but it’s a lot better than the alternative.

If you wanna learn more about dealing with your ego, building persuasive arguments and other related topics, I recommend you join my free social success newsletter, where I share regular advice.

Persuasion is a great skill to have. You’re not gonna win all arguments and convince all people, but it’s wonderful to have some real influence over those around you. It makes you feel like you can truly help people change and make this world a better place.

How to Not Be Creepy

There are a lot of emails in my Inbox from people who want to improve their social interactions. Many times, they’ll talk about coming across as creepy, or weird, and wanting real bad to fix this.

Sometimes this creepiness is mostly imaginary, many times though there is reliable evidence to support it, and sometimes others have told them point blank: “You’re creepy!” So I thought I’d share some insights about what can make someone come across as creepy and how to avoid it, based on my experience as a communication coach.

What Does Being Creepy Mean Anyway?

First of all, let’s get clear on what being creepy means exactly.

If you go to a reputable dictionary such as Merriam-Webster, you’ll find the term “creepy” defined as: “strange or scary, causing people to feel nervous and afraid”.

Put another way, when others say you’re creepy, it means you make them feel uncomfortable. Creepiness has to do with a feeling of unease triggered in others.

This brings me to a major point I wanna emphasize, which I believe is crucial to grasp:

There Are Only Creepy Actions, Not Creepy People

There is no such thing as a creepy person. Because, considering what being creepy means, a creepy person would be someone who makes nearly all people feel uncomfortable, nearly all the time. And pretty much nobody does that. Not even the crazy homeless people you may run into on the streets sometimes.

What we’re really talking about is behavior that makes some people feel uncomfortable. Sometimes you may say something or do something in a social setting that’s perceived by some as inappropriate, and it triggers discomfort in them. But that’s just a creepy action; it doesn’t mean you’re a creepy person overall. And even actions that seem creepy to some will often seem perfectly normal to others. Preferences play a big role.

Of course, people may call you creepy, but it doesn’t mean you are creepy. It just means you did or said something that came across to them as weird. Most people are really bad at properly labeling behavior though, and so they label individuals as a whole. Thus, they call you creepy, instead of your particular behavior.

So even though others may label you as creepy, don’t ever think of yourself that way. It’s a toxic and unrealistic way to see yourself. There is no such thing as a creepy person; there are just behaviors that come across as creepy, to some.

Now, let’s look at how you can get rid of such behaviors.

Be Consistent In Your Behavior

Asian college studentsWhen I talk with clients in coaching sessions about social situations where something they said or done came across as creepy, I frequently discover that it was because their behavior was inconsistent.

They didn’t do something bad; they just shifted their conduct abruptly from one direction to another, which typically makes others uncomfortable.

For example, when a guy spends months interacting with a girl pretending to be just friends, and then one day suddenly comes out of the closet confessing he has a crush on her, that there is inconsistent behavior. He made a sudden shift from positioning himself as a friend to positioning himself as a lover. That will take most girls by surprise, they won’t know how to react, and thus it will make them feel uncomfortable. So it will seem creepy.

These kinds of situations arise because we act fake and hide our true intentions, and then at one point, voluntarily or not, we suddenly reveal our true intentions. That’s why I always encourage people to be genuine and not have hidden agendas. It will make their behavior unitary and reliable, and others will be able to trust them.

If you like someone, don’t hide it from them. Flirt with them; let them know how you feel. Hidden agendas create inconsistent behavior, and that will regularly be perceived as creepy.

Strip Yourself of Your Social Anxieties

One major reason why some people often come off as creepy is their social insecurities.

If you’re in a social situation and you feel anxious, it will affect your entire behavior and vibe. Anxious people often talk incoherently, there are awkward silences in their conversations, their gestures tend to be jerky, and their conduct clumsy. That will make others feel discomfort, and therefore they will seem creepy.

If you often feel anxious in social situations, I can promise that overcoming your social anxieties will be the single most important change you can make to not be perceived as creepy.

Over the past 6+ years, coaching shy and socially insecure individuals, I’ve found that social anxiety can be eliminated, by making some strategic changes in your thinking patterns, your self-image and your beliefs system.

This is a broad topic though, so I’m not gonna go into details here. However, I’ve created a special instructional presentation, in which I explain step-by-step how you can overcome your insecurities and gain rock-solid social confidence. Go here to access it and make sure you watch it.

Improve Your Social Awareness

Social awareness is the ability to understand how social situations work and what outcome what behavior will likely generate in such a situation. It’s what allows you to properly adjust your social behavior and create the impression you want.

In general, people who are often labeled as creepy lack social awareness. They are sort of clueless about what to do when they interact with others, which is why they behave awkwardly.

The good news is that social awareness can be developed. I’ve actually seen people with very low social awareness become highly socially savvy.

Primarily, it’s a matter of practice. You need to get out there and interact with people. You’ll make your fair share of mistakes at first, but if you reflect on them a bit and you learn from them, you’ll gain social awareness and you’ll become smooth with people.

Improving your social awareness is also a matter of learning about social dynamics from books, courses, and other people. This is the kind of stuff you rarely learn is school, but there are a lot of other quality sources of information out there.

With this in mind, I recommend you to join my free social success newsletter, which is where I share most of my advice for developing social skills and social confidence. I’m sure you’ll benefit a lot from it. Go to this page and enter your email to get onboard.

With more consistent behavior, less insecurities and more social awareness, you’ll get radically better reactions from other people. They’ll be more interested in talking to you, you’ll be invited to more social events, and you’ll appear charismatic instead of creepy.

Bear in mind though that it’s impossible to never do or say anything that comes off as creepy. Even the most socially skilled individuals seem creepy to some people, sometimes. It’s unavoidable. And it’s not a problem anyway.

As long as coming off creepy doesn’t happen a lot and it doesn’t prevent you from having a great social life, you’re fine. Go out there and be social.

Develop Your Conversation Style around Your Natural Strengths

Giving others advice for improving their conversation skills is very tricky.

People often expect formulaic instructions on how to talk to other people. And this probably happens to a large extent because many authors out there offer this kind of instructions. They will boldly tell you to do this, then do that, then say this, then say that, and you’ll have amazing conversations and everybody will love you.

Years ago, when I first started training others in improving their conversation skills, I was eager to give this kind of advice as well. But in time, especially by coaching others one-on-one, I came to realize this is a bad approach to helping people develop good conversation skills.

The Dynamics of Conversation

You see, conversation has one interesting attribute. It’s something that doesn’t need to be done in one single way in order to go well. In fact, there are many styles of conversation that work, just as there are many conversation styles that don’t work.

Most of the people I call my friends are very charismatic and socially skilled individuals. But if you would bring them to the same party and observe them, you’d notice that they have very different styles of talking to people. They are clear similarities, but there are also clear differences between them.

One is high energy and jokes around all the time, one rarely makes jokes but captivates people with his ideas, one has a more brazen, bad-boy attitude in conversation, and one is really good at making people feel appreciated. And all of them manage to connect well with lots of people and to sweep them off their feet.

Conversation styleWhen you wanna help others develop their conversation skills and you have this perspective on conversation, it’s a whole different game you’re playing. You can’t just give them rigid instructions and expect good results, as if you were teaching them how to tie their shoe laces and there is only one way to do it right.

What I do instead as a communication coach is to start by helping people realize that as clumsy or awkward as they may be right now in social situations, there is a good conversationalist somewhere inside them. And there are ways to bring it out. I help them believe in themselves. I talk more about how this psychological process works in this special presentation.

Next, I usually help them discover their natural strengths and get a good understanding of their personality type. And as they get to know themselves better, it becomes clearer to them what kind of a conversation style would match well the way they are.

So then they can work with me on developing a conversation style that creates amazing results with people, and at the same time is designed around their personality and their natural strengths. Every one of my clients develops their own unique social persona, which is ideal for them.

On the other hand, when you take the approach of giving someone formulaic conversation advice, what happens most often is that the advice is gonna be so far from the person’s strengths they will never fully internalize it, and it won’t work well for them. So their conversation style will perpetually seem clumsy and inconsistent. It’s kind of like having an eagle running a horse race, or a horse trying to fly.

Unfortunately, it’s common for coaches, trainers and bloggers to teach others a conversation style that works well for their own person, since it matches the way they are, but will fail someone else who different from them.

They’ll sort of try to create replicas of themselves, who go out there in the social world and act the same way they do; sometimes to the point of dressing the same way, making the same jokes and using the same lines. Ridiculous, if you ask me.

The Path to Sizzling Conversations  

Are there conversation principles and techniques that work well for people all around? Yes, there sure are. And I teach such principles as well, in my courses as well as in my free newsletter. But these exist mostly to help you master the basics of good conversation. They just set a sturdy foundation.

When you move beyond that, to developing advanced conversation skills, it’s time to put general techniques aside and find your own unique voice. To find and implement ideas that work well for you in particular, to customize them and optimize them for your circumstances, and to mix them so they form your own distinctive conversation style.

When you do that you find that your social skills not only improve a lot faster, but your conversation style feels much more authentic to boot.

Because you’re not trying to change entirely who you are in social settings. You’re only smoothing out the rough edges, gaining some new social habits, removing your social insecurities, and building on top of the qualities you already posses as a person.

It can seem easier to just take some do-this-do-that conversation advice and apply it, but that will never be very effective in creating top-notch conversation skills. When it comes to truly mastering conversation, finding your own way is the only way as far as I’m concerned.

If you want more help in improving your conversation skills and developing the conversation style that works best for you, I recommend you join my free social confidence newsletter, where I share most of my insights concerning this area.

Go to this page and enter your email to join my newsletter right now, and I’ll talk to you there.

4 Advanced Conversation Skills and How to Cultivate Them

In my view, you have intermediate conversation skills when you are able to start a conversation with a wide range of people, keep it going, talk about various topics and build some sort of connection with a portion of the people you talk with.

A lot of folks don’t have this level of conversation skills, and they generally struggle with making conversation. Then again, a lot of folks do have this level of conversation skills. And when you’re an intermediate-level conversationalist or close to it, it’s worth considering attaining an advanced level of conversation skills.

Advanced conversation skills will influence the way you come across, the impact you have on others and the quality of your relationships so much that you won’t believe. Few experiences compare to going to a party, meeting or social event, engaging with people and being one of the best, smoothest conversationalists in the room (if not the best).

So I firmly believe that gaining advanced conversation skills is a worthy pursuit, no matter who you are. But what does it mean to have advanced conversation skills anyway?

Well, I’d like to talk to you about 4 conversation skills that I consider will practically turn you into an advanced conversationalist. They’re not the only advanced conversation skills, but they are some of the most important ones. And I’m gonna show you how to cultivate them to boot.

1. Reframing

In conversation, reframing is the ability to look at the topic being discussed and the ideas being expressed from a new, original perspective, and talking from that perspective. It’s, in a way, switching the angle of the conversation. And it’s a great method to spice up the conversation.

Warm smiles on a wintery dayHere’s an example of reframing during a discussion with a girl.

Her: “Boy! My purse is really heavy. I don’t know why I’ve put so much stuff in it.”

You: “Yeah, well at least if someone harasses you on the street, you can easily use it as a clobbering device. They’ll be sorry they ever messed with you!”

That’s a reframe. And by doing this reframe with your remark, you’ve achieved two things. You’ve turned a negative (the purse being heavy) into a positive, and you’ve also given the purse an unconventional, creative utility (as a clobbering device). So your comment is interesting and funny, and it helps you make an impression. Not bad for one comment!

How to develop your ability to reframe: by deliberately trying to look at topics and statements made in conversation from new, different angles. Move away from conventional thinking and seek to think out of the box. With practice, you’ll get better at it.

2. Empathizing

Empathizing is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of the other person, understand their thoughts and feelings, and make statements from this perspective. The more empathy you have, the easier it is to empathize with someone in a conversation.

Here’s what empathizing look like.

Her: “My boss criticized me for 20 minutes for being 5 minutes late! I couldn’t believe it!”

You: ”Wow, I imagine you felt really frustrated and shocked. I mean, how big of a deal is it to be 5 minute late anyway?”

Her: “Yes, exactly! You get me so well!”

See what you’re doing? You’re putting yourself in the other person’s situation and you’re talking about how you imagine she felt and how she saw the situation. That’s empathizing. And when you empathize with someone effectively, it shows that you’re really listening and that you understand them. Which is very rare and it’s bound to earn you a lot of points.

How to develop your ability to empathize: by deliberately putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. The more you practice, the more your empathy improves, and understanding the other person gets easier, so making empathic statements gets easier.

3. Relating

Relating is the ability to connect to what the other person says, with something from your own life or knowledge. A master conversationalist is able to relate to a very wide range of statements, on a very wide range of topics. It goes something like this:

Him: “I went water surfing this weekend. Lots of fun!”

You: “So you do water surfing ha? I tried water skiing once. My back hurt for two days after that, but it was an amazing experience. Have to try it again sometimes.”

By making such a comment you enter in the other person’s world and you show them you can connect with it to some extent. You emphasize commonalities between the two of you, which encourages the other person to open up more, and makes them like you more. That’s the power of relating.

How to develop your ability to relate: first of all by developing a rich lifestyle, where you try a lot of things and have a large array of experiences. That way just about anything the other person talks about, you have some related experience to share. And second of all, again, by practicing sharing related experiences from your own life during conversation.

4. Storytelling

Advanced conversationalists tend to tell a lot of stories when chatting. And they know how to tell them well, so even a banal event seems like a crazy adventure when they narrate it. Rookies tend to only make short, generic statements in conversation, which does little to convey their personality and make it hard to keep the conversation going.

So captivating storytelling is definitely an advanced conversation skill worth cultivating. There is nothing more captivating than a good storyteller, grabbing and holding the attention of an entire group of people with their story about that time when they accidentally ate dish soap.

How to develop your storytelling skills: for one, by telling more stories. Start with short, simple stories if you’re not used to telling stories, and advance to longer, more intricate ones. And also by learning about the rules and principles of good storytelling and practicing them when you share stories.

If you wanna learn more about these rules and principles of good storytelling, as well as reframing, empathizing, relating and other advanced conversation skills, I recommend that you get onboard my free social confidence newsletter, which is where I share most of my advanced conversation advice these days.

Once or twice a week, you’ll receive practical information from me for improving your social skills, social confidence and social life, directly in your Inbox. So go here right now and enter your email to join the newsletter.

Advanced conversation skills do take some practice to develop. But with the right guidance, it can be a surprisingly fast and rewarding experience. Through this article I’ve helped you set a solid foundation for developing advanced conversation skills. The rest is up to you.

Go get them!

5 Rules for Conversing With Busy People

Sometimes, especially in your professional life, you’ll deal with people who are very busy. People who are flooded with tasks and responsibilities, and they have little time for casual conversation.

Unsurprisingly, these individuals who are very busy also tend to be very successful, capable and knowledgeable, so it’s in your interest to befriend them. But how do you talk to such a person in order to make friends with them?

For the most part, talking to a busy person is the same as talking to any other person. The same principles apply. However, there are a few specific rules that apply for conversing with busy people in particular. I’d like to share these rules with you in the following paragraphs.

1. Remember That Even Busy People Are Social Creatures

Just because a person is busy doesn’t mean they don’t want to chat with others and they don’t enjoy it. They just don’t have that much time for it so they have to prioritize their conversations. But busy people can be very social and friendly. Like anyone else, they have a deep-seated need to socialize and make friends.

This is important to keep in mind because it’s easy to assume that since a person is very busy, they’re also gonna be very grouchy and distant, and so it’s not worth trying to talk to them. But in reality, this is rarely the case. And the more you make conversation with busy people, the more you’ll experience this yourself.

2. Don’t Try to Prove Yourself

Folks who do a lot of things and their time is in great demand are likely to trigger in us feelings of inferiority or inadequacy. We feel we’re not good enough for them to give us a piece of their time and attention. Consequently, when the give us their time and attention, we decide to use it to showcase our assets and prove ourselves to them.

Let me tell you: there is no bigger turnoff for a busy person than somebody trying to impress them. Yes, they know they’re capable and in demand, but it doesn’t mean they expect others to try and prove themselves to them. In fact, most of them see this as very needy behavior.

The best use of your time interacting with a busy person is in relating to them authentically, not in trying to impress them. Focus on making conversation and creating a connection, not on proving yourself. You have nothing to prove.

3. Spend More Time in Their Reality

busyUsually when making conversation with another person, I recommend you find topics that you both enjoy equally, and talk about those. So if the conversation lands on a topic you fancy, but the other person doesn’t seem to resonate with it, you try to change the topic, just as you try to change it in the reverse situation.

When dealing with a busy person though, since their time is in high demand, your favorite topics take a slight backseat to theirs. It usually makes sense to make an extra effort and unsure they find the subjects you talk about meaningful.

This often entails being curious, asking open-ended questions, and once you’ve found a topic they enjoy talking about, exploring that topic. Spend time in their reality. I’m not saying you should torture yourself with conversation about stuff you have zero interest in, but do try a bit more than usual to accommodate the other person. One way or another, it will pay off.

4. Get to the Point

Busy people have little patience for evasive communicators who beat around the bush. Their time is highly valuable. So they don’t need you to sugar coat your messages that much; they just want you to get to the point and say what you have to say.

Interestingly enough, even though they prefer a direct style of communication, busy individuals are the most likely to deal with an indirect style of communication. This is because they intimidate most people and most people are very fearful of upsetting them, so they beat round the bush.

Make sure you don’t make the same mistake most people make though. Get to the point when talking with a busy person. Be clear and straightforward in your communication. They will take pleasure in talking with you more and they will respect you more.

5. Don’t Hesitate to Reschedule

Even the busiest people have moments during the day when their time is unsolicited and it’s convenient for them to chat. But they’re not frequent. So it’s often possible that you engage such a person, and you quickly realize they’re not in such a moment.

Sensing that it’s not a good moment for them to chat, most of us do one of two things: either we end the conversation abruptly so they can get back to other stuff, or we speed up our speaking rate, often to the point where it becomes downright comical.

I would like to suggest a better alternative: reschedule. If you find the moment isn’t good for the other person to chat, acknowledge this and schedule some other time. For example, say something like: “Listen I notice you’re busy. Maybe we can continue this conversation some other time. Wanna have lunch together today for instance?”

I reschedule conversations like this all the time, and I find it to be an amazingly elegant and effective approach. Give it a try.

Making quality conversation is a skill. And making quality conversation with busy people is even more so. It takes a certain level of understanding of human psychology and social dynamics to be a good conversationalist, as well a certain amount of practice. I’ve provided some of the understanding in this article. Putting it into practice is up to you.

Enjoy yourself!

Image courtesy of herlitz_pbs


When People Tell You That You Don’t Talk Much

When I was shy, I didn’t talk very much in conversations, especially with people I didn’t know well. So I often received comments and questions like: “You don’t talk much” or “Why don’t you participate in the conversation?”

I remember that these kinds of remarks and questions made feel very uncomfortable and I didn’t know how to react to them. I didn’t like being shy, and I liked it even less when people realized that I was shy.

Then, coaching shy people for a living, I discovered that almost every shy person deals with such situations and they don’t know how to handle them effectively. So I’d like to share some practical idea with you and clarify what you can do when people say you don’t talk very much.

Do Not Get Defensive or Try To Be Witty

Usually, when a person gets told they don’t talk very much, their first impulse is to justify themselves. They will go into this elaborate and often phony explanation designed to prevent them from appearing shy because they don’t talk much.

Unfortunately, others typically see right through such explanations. And the very fact that you’re trying to defend yourself so hard is the first indication that the comment bothered you, which is a sign of insecurity in itself.

Other times they will try to be witty and deliver some sort of clever comeback. This is typically doomed to fail as well. As you may have experienced yourself, it is seldom that you manage to be witty when you’re put on the spot by somebody and you feel emotional pressure.

Defending yourself and trying to be witty are both anxiety-generated, approval-seeking reactions, and believe me, they do very little for you. Here is a much better alternative.

Just Provide a Basic Answer

criticI found that when someone tells you that you don’t talk much, the best answer is a short, simple one. Something like “Yeah, sometimes I’m not in the mood to talk” or “I just don’t have anything to say right now” is enough.

You’re still explaining yourself, but you’re not over-explaining yourself so it doesn’t come off as needy or defensive. Most importantly, by giving just a basic answer, you’re not making a big deal out of this whole thing. You give a basic reply to a basic question, and you move on.

In my experience, this is by far the best approach. The other person will take the answer you provided, be satisfied with it, and continue participating in the social interaction.

It’s even okay to admit that you’re a bit shy. Other people actually have a lot of understanding towards shy people. Not pity, as many shy persons assume; understanding.

And even if they may not seem like it, they are shy to some extend as well. Or they may have been in the past. Understanding that you’re shy typically encourages them to be supportive towards you, which is the best response to help you get out of your shell in social situations.

Focus On Overcoming Your Shyness Not On Hiding It

Overall, I feel that focusing on making others think you are social when you really aren’t is counterproductive. Your priority should be to learn to be more outgoing socially (which you can do), rather than managing how others see you.

Interestingly enough, the moment when you stop caring too much about comments like “you don’t talk much” is when you start to be more talkative and so you get less of these comments. It means you’ve begun to not fear disapproval, a fear that’s at the root of shyness and social anxiety.

So, focus on learning to see yourself in a better light, on overcoming your limiting beliefs and on building social skills. This is what will make you more confident socially and more talkative.

This approach helps you deal with the primary issue, which is the fact you’re shy, not the secondary one, which is the fact people see you as shy.

Shyness is not a disease; it’s not even a defect necessarily. But it is a thorny behavioral and emotional habit that can make it very hard to relate to others and make you miss out on a lot in life. And thus it’s the core issue to deal with.

To learn how to eliminate your limiting beliefs and overcome shyness, I suggest that you watch this instructional presentation, where I discuss this topic in more detail. Access it right now.

Work on dealing with your shyness, using proven psychological tools, and the multiple problems derived from shyness (such as pesky remarks from other people) will naturally disappear.

Image courtesy of jontintinjordan