It’s the Conversation (that Matters) Not the Words.

No one likes to be talked at.

Not a spouse.  Not an employee.  Not even the family pet.

When we feel the words thrown at us don't matter, we automatically throw away the conversation.

That's why we instinctively distrust politicians and sales people.

They lie to us.

At least that's what our gut tells us.

And even if that's not really always logical, it feels like that.

Have you ever reread the words from a political speech a few days later or suddenly remembered part of what was said?  You might find yourself pursing your lips, nodding your head, and agreeing that that was a "pretty good line."

The words connected.

But the conversation didn't.

And that's where most of us fail.

Shameless politician, selfish sales executive, frustrating spouse -- they all have something in common.  They use the "right" words and have all the wrong conversations.

It's a big problem and something that can derail your ability to achieve outrageous success.

Whether you are a public speaker standing behind the lectern or a consultant working one-on-one with a client, here are four simple tips to having better conversations.

  1. Talk like a normal person -- Stop with the buzz words.  Sure you know all the jargon and industry speak.  That's why you are the one speaking.  Just don't assume that we all know anything you are talking about.  Normal people say "dude" and "yo" and avoid discussion around "expanding knowledge economies".  When you make me feel like an idiot, I want to have a conversation with someone else.
  2. Hold eye contact -- Don't just glance at the people you are talking with.  Maintain a visual connection.  And when they look back, resist the urge to look down.  Ohh.... and don't be creepy.  The unblinking stare is just a.w.k.w.a.r.d.  Look at my eyes and feel my soul.  I want to talk with you wen you understand my pain.
  3. Be an emotional human -- Share a vulnerable moment.  Be funny.  Talk about when you screwed up last.  Don't pretend like you've never had it bad before.  Not only is that "uncool", it's just not realistic.  How can you expect the rest of us to keep listening when we have nothing in common?
  4. Move around -- Be active.  If you are standing behind the lectern, move your hands and pump your legs.  You don't need to run in place, but you draw the crowd into your conversation when you are passionate.  And even if you are one-on-one, get involved in your own conversation -- let your body amplify what is coming out of your lips.

Remember, it's not about gimmicks or manipulation.  It's about you putting in place the details that enable you to communicate better.

Stop talking. Share.

The words don't really matter.

It's the conversation that matters

If we just need words, we all have a tape recorder we can play...