How to talk to anyone, by Leil Lowndes
I was rather shy as child. I wish there had been a children’s version of this around in my local library.
It would have needed to be much simpler – as even as an adult I got a little overwhelmed with all the ‘techniques’ – over 90!
Here’s a few that stuck with me – as you’ll see the book content is quite a bit wider than just ‘talking’, here they are:
1. Use the grapevine
Rather than directly praising someone Leil advises using the grapevine to spread your message. The example she gives is in a work setting (Ruth did an amazing job on the website project) but I imagine that this will work in any situation. Imagine: instead of gossiping about your friends, pass on some praise.
2. Use their strongest sense
If you’ve read a few of these communication books (particularly verbal skills) then you’ll come across this often – but it’s worth repeating. The trick is to play to a persons strongest sense. The three are visual, auditory (sound) and kinaesthetic (feeling). Most people are more dominant in one area. The trick is to figure out what it is and then use it. For example I’m an auditory person so I love it when people respond to me with things like “that sounds good” or “can you hear me out”.
3. Ban the one-word answer
Ever been in a networking situation when you’re working your arse of, barrelling out the questions to your new-found friend and receiving answers like ‘yeah’ ‘nah’ ‘maybe’. Either your new-friend is a dick… or they’re just a bit shy and need this advice: don’t leave someone hanging, always offer more than a one word answer. As Leil says:
“Do humanity and yourself a favour. Never, ever, give just a one-sentence response to the question, ‘Where are you from?’ Give the asker some fuel for his tank.”
4. Greet them like an old friend
I’m positive that an previous manger of mine has used this technique/trick – and he was superstar. The trick is designed to make a great impression on people – even those who are complete strangers. In a nutshell- pretend the persons an old friend – act accordingly. Sidenote: of course this advice won’t work if you do anything strange with ‘old friends’ – like slaps on the bum or weird handshakes 🙂
Leil says, “I call it Hello Old Friend. When meeting someone, play a mental trick on yourself. In your mind’s eye, see him or her as an old friend, someone you had a wonderful relationship with years ago…”
On a related note, if you’re looking for books along these lines then Dale Carnegie’s book (with a odd title): How to Win Friends and Influence People is the best I’ve read. I also recommend their courses – once you’ve bellowed like Tarzan (yes I did this) to a room full of people you can guarantee that your ‘shyness’ will have fled the room!
If you like the sound of Leil’s book then grab it here.