Meeting new people can be uncomfortable. How can you start a conversation and keep it conversation going?
No matter whether you want to get a job, make a sale or present yourself as an attractive romantic partner, you want to make a good impression, build rapport and trust.
This article is the first of five parts.
1) The Most Important Thing to Do with Anyone You Meet
Ask for someone else’s thoughts and opinions without judging them.
Ask questions. Listen. But don’t judge. Nobody likes to feel judged.
On the other hand, people like talking about themselves – and they like people who listen to them!
It doesn’t mean you agree with someone. But you are taking the time to understand their views and attitudes.
What if you disagree with what your interlocutor is saying?
When you hear something you disagree with, don’t contradict or debate the issue. Ask rather about the reasons for his/her point of view.
“Oh, that’s interesting. I never thought about it that way. Help me understand. What causes you to think that?”
Your facial expression and body language should be open and not judgmental. You should show sincere interest.
Studies show people get more pleasure from talking about themselves than they do from food or money.
Now, this is not always easy – because we also like talking about ourselves and, if there is a difference of opinion, we automatically want to convince the other that our point of view is better.
What’s the problem here? Your ego.
Subordinate Your Ego to Get People to Like You
Most of us want to show how other people are wrong.
This kills rapport. Want to show someone that he is wrong, and you are right?
Don’t do it.
Put your own needs, wants and opinions aside. Consciously ignore your desire to demonstrate your superior knowledge, cleverness, taste, etc. Don’t allow their “incorrect” opinion to get under your skin.
Contradicting people doesn’t build relationships.
When people hear things that contradict their beliefs, the logical part of their mind shuts down. They feel as if THEIR egos are under attack, and they go into fight-or-flight mode.
So, you are non-judgmental and can overcome your ego. But how do you get a reputation as a great listener?