It’s hard to keep a conversation going.
As you think of something to say, your attention wavers and you lose track of what the other person is saying. You feel stuck. Then the dreaded awkward silence ensues…
I’m going to show you how a fundamental rule of persuasion can help you keep a conversation going. It will make people feel comfortable opening up to you, and will engage them in easy and natural conversation.
It’s called reciprocity.
The idea is simple:
If you share something personal about yourself, people will feel more comfortable - even obliged - to share something personal about themselves.
Here’s an example. The most common question people ask when meeting somebody new is
“What do you do?”
Rather than telling them your job title and the company you work for, or what you’re studying in school, tell a quick story. I have a friend who is really good at this. Here’s what he says:
“I use data we collected at our supermarkets to help make people’s grocery shopping experience better than ever. It sounds crazy, but it’s really interesting, because you would never think about how people buy their groceries. I mean, they just grab things off the shelf and put them in their cart. But there are so many useful insights we get from the data about what people buy and when they buy it. Anyway, how about you? What do you do?”
Now that’s way more interesting than answering with “I’m a Data Analyst at a big supermarket.” Boring!
By answering a common question with a quick story, the person you’re talking to can respond in one of two ways: Either they’re really interested in what you do and start asking more questions, or they reciprocate by responding in a similar way about themselves.
Remember, the rule of reciprocity says someone will be more likely to share something personal about themselves if you shared something personal about yourself first. And either way, it’s good for the conversation, because it gives you so much more to talk about.
You can do this with anything, as long as you’re genuine about it. People will notice if you’re insincere, and that’s the quickest way to end a conversation. So, if you’re in school, tell an interesting story about the subject you’re studying. If you’re looking for a job, tell a story about why you want to work in a certain area. Just share something personal about yourself and others will open up about themselves.
Here’s how you can get started. Write down a simple 2-sentence story about what you do or something like. Follow this format:
I _____[what you do/like]_____ because _____[reason]_____. One interesting thing about it is _____[one interesting thing]_____. What do you do?
And then think about 3 to 5 other interesting stories you could tell about anything in your life. You never know when you’ll need them. You’ll notice once you’ve done that, you’ll naturally get better at engaging in conversation.
About Gabriello Pitman: Gabriello has a lot of people-experience: He's worked in professional sales, magic, hypnosis and entrepreneurship. He have a deep understanding of behavioural psychology, persuasion and body language. Get his free 3 Power Secrets to Reading People to get the best of his persuasion and social skills material.
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