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Book: How to Talk to Anyone

Author:  Leil Lowndes

Purchase:  Print | eBook | Audiobook

Citation:  Lowndes, L. (2003). How to talk to anyone : 92 little tricks for big success in relationships. Chicago, Ill: Contemporary Books.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. The way you look and the way you move is more than 80 percent of someone's first impression of you. Not one word need be spoken. Just give 'em great posture, a heads-up look, a confident smile, and a direct gaze - that's the ideal image for somebody who's a somebody. No doubt about it - good posture symbolizes that you are a man or woman who is used to being on top. (pg. 3)

  2. Worried about the first words you speak to a stranger? Fear not, because 80 percent of your listener's impression has nothing to do with your first words anyway. Almost anything you say at first is fine. No matter how boring or generic your words, an empathic mood, a positive demeanor, and passionate delivery make you sound exciting. Anything you say is fine as long as it is not complaining, rude, or unpleasant. The trick is to ask a normal question with passion to get the other person talking. (pg. 54)

  3. Whenever someone mentions a common interest or experience, instead of jumping in with a breathless, "Hey, me, too! I do that, too" or "I know all about that," let your conversation partner enjoy talking about it. Then, when the time is right, casually mention you share their interest. Be sure to mention how much you enjoyed hearing about his or her shared interest. (pg. 107)


Other Key Ideas:

The instant you are introduced to someone, reward your new acquaintance by giving them a warm smile, the total-body turn, and your undivided attention. Pivoting 100 percent toward the new person shouts "I think you are very, very special." (pg. 25)

When meeting someone, imagine he or she is an old friend. The joyful experience starts a remarkable chain reaction in your body from the subconscious softening of your eyebrows to the positioning of your toes - and everything in between. The delight of rediscovery fills your face and buoys up your body language. An added benefit of the "Hello Old Friend" technique is it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you act as though you like someone, you start to really like them. Use this technique and you will soon have many new "old friends" who wind up genuinely liking you. (pg. 29)

Whenever your conversation really counts, let your nose itch, your ear tingle, or your foot prickle. Do not fidget, twitch, wiggle, squirm, or scratch. Hand motions near your face and all fidgeting can give your listener the gut feeling you're fibbing. (pg. 34)

Before opening your mouth, take a "voice sample" of your listener to detect his or her state of mind. Take a "psychic photograph" of the expression to see if your listener looks buoyant, bored, or blitzed. If you ever want to bring people around to your thoughts, you must match their mood and voice tone, if only for a moment. (pg. 50)

When you meet someone new, always make sure the attention of the conversation is on them. The longer you keep the conversation shining on the other person (away from you), the more interesting the other person will find you. (pg. 77)

Never ask outright, "What do you do?" By not asking the question, you will come across as more principled. Instead, ask "How do you spend most of your time?" The new wording of your question gives those who are somewhere between "at leisure" and "work addicted" the choice of telling you about their job or not. (pg. 95)

The world perceives people with rich vocabularies to be more creative, more intelligent. People with larger vocabularies get hired quicker, promoted faster, and listened to a whole lot more. Winners use rich, full words but they never sound inappropriate. All you need to do is think of a few tired, overworked words you use every day - words like smart, nice, pretty, or good and replace them with more sophisticated words. Only fifty new words can make the difference between a rich, creative vocabulary and an average, middle-of-the-road one. (pg. 103)

Everyone must give bad news from time to time, and winning professionals do it with the proper attitude. Big winners know, when delivering any bad news, they should share the sentiment of the receiver. (pg. 131)

Whenever the occasion warrants more than an unconscious acknowledgement, dress up your "thank you" with the reason: "Thank you for coming", "Thank you for being so understanding", "Thank you for waiting", etc. It has a surprising effect. (pg. 140)

Echoing is a simple linguistic technique that packs a powerful wallop. Listen to the speaker's arbitrary choice of words - and echo them back. Hearing their words come out of your mouth creates subliminal rapport. It makes them feel you share their values, their attitudes, their interests, their experiences. (pg. 180)

Whenever you hear a positive comment about someone, don't let it end there. Try to remember the kudos and verbally carry it to the person who will get the most pleasure - the person who was complimented. Keep your ears open for good things people say about each other, then fly to that person with the compliment. (pg. 204)

When someone tosses a compliment your way, let the good feelings go back to the person who gave the compliment. Don't just say "Thanks" (or worse, "Oh, it's nothing.") Let them know of your gratitude and find a way to compliment them for their compliment. (pg. 221)

Whenever you place a call always - not occasionally, not frequently - always ask about your timing. Make it a habit. Make it a rule. There are many ways to say it, but it all boils down to "Is this a good time to talk?" No matter how urgent you think your call, always begin by asking the person about your timing. (pg. 246)

Politicians make a science out of tracking. They find ways to keep track of the last concern, enthusiasm, or event discussed with everyone in their life. They keep track of the last conversation and they use that information during the next conversation with that person. Track the tiniest of details in your conversations with others and refer to them in future conversations like a major news story. It creates a powerful sense of intimacy. (pg. 282)

Whenever someone's story is interrupted, don't forget to come back to the story. Whenever the interruption is done, simply say to the person who suffered the interruption, "Now please get back to your story." Or better yet, remember where they were and then ask, "So what happened after the..." (and fill in the last few words). (pg. 301)

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