How to Talk to People and Keep the Conversation Going

November 4th, 2021

Do you struggle with starting small talk with people and then transitioning that into deeper, more meaningful conversation that establishes a connection with the other person?

Or do you find that your conversations either don’t get off the ground to begin with – or else they fizzle out quickly, perhaps making for an awkward silence?

Well, how would you like to learn a simple conversation strategy very few people know about that will make you an expert at striking up conversations with people and making connections with them very quickly?

If you’re currently the type of person who has trouble starting conversations with people and keeping the flow going in such a way that it quickly turns that person into a friend, what I’m about to share with you will revolutionize your social skills and your social life forever.

Now let me ask you this…

Who’s the most important person in the world?

As far as you and your life are concerned, isn’t it you?

Aren’t you the most important person in the world in your own eyes?

But if you think about that from other peoples’ perspectives, aren’t they also the most important person in the world?

In their own view, it’s themselves, isn’t it?

Thus, the real secret to talking to people is to talk about the most important person in the world as far as they’re concerned – it’s to talk about them.

After all, what do most people talk about with others?

Don’t they usually tend to just freely talk and even ramble on about themselves and their opinions and experiences with others?

But what kind of affect does this usually have on people?

Doesn’t it just tend to bore them and make them want to leave your presence?

If you want to be a great conversationalist who attracts people to you through how you talk and interact, the very first thing you need to understand and get clearly into your head is that you focus on talking about what the other person wants to talk about – especially if you’re just meeting someone for the first time. Instead, you focus on talking about what’s important to the other person. You talk about what they want to talk about.

And what do they want to talk about?

Simply put, they want to talk about themselves. People love to talk about themselves. And if you learn to ask people questions that draw out the things that are most important in their lives, the things they’re just dying to talk about, not only will the conversation flow but you will win friends with ease.

Now, how do you do this?

What are the things you have to say?

What are the words you use?

When you first start talking to someone, we should have but one purpose in mind. That purpose is to fish for cues they can use to transition the conversation from small talk onto topics that are important in the life of the person they’re talking to.

What’s a cue?

It’s simply a small mention another person makes that gives a glimpse into their life.

The goal whenever you start talking to someone should be to fish for these cues so that you can use them to turn them into centrals topics of the interaction.

How exactly do you do this?

You start by asking simple questions that gets the other person talking and revealing information. That’s number one. The more they talk, the more cues they’re going to drop into the conversation that you can pick up on and use.

When you open a conversation, some simple questions to use are these:

“How’s your day/evening/week been going?”

“How’s your shift going?” (If they’re at work)

These are great questions you can use to open the interaction and start fishing for those cues. The whole point is to get the other person talking for the purpose of getting them to start dropping cues into the conversation; topics you can then transition into the focus of the conversation.

If they simply respond by saying that they’re good and nothing more, you just have to do a bit more digging.

A great follow-up question I often use when people don’t drop any cues after my opening question is to ask them this:

“Anything interesting or out of the ordinary happen today?”

This usually gets them talking.

The more practice you get at it, the more you’ll come up with your own effective follow-up questions that draw out cues.

Now, once you start getting the other person to start dropping cues into the interaction, how do you use them to transition from small talk into deeper conversation?

In short, you start asking them questions about a cue they give you that sounds interesting to you.

That’s how you transition the cue into a central topic.

For example, if you asked them how their day was and they answer by saying, “It’s been good. I got a call for a job interview and I won ten bucks on a scratch and win ticket,” you’ll notice that they dropped two cues into the conversation.

Now you know two things about them: (1) They’re looking for a job, and (2) They play lottos. Those are now two options that you can bring to the forefront of the conversation.

So what you’d do is pick the one that’s most interesting and ask them a question about it. In this case, you might say, “Oh yeah, where’s your interview at?”

Perhaps they might answer with this: “It’s for a receptionist job at Ford.”

Now you’ve transitioned the original cue into a central topic.

When you’ve done this, the goal for the conversation shifts from fishing for cues to something else.

Which is what exactly?

Let me ask you this...

How do you feel about people who take a genuine interest in you and your life?

It makes you feel pretty good, doesn’t it?

It’s nice to have someone care about us, right?

Not only that, don’t you start feeling a connection with them for doing so?

Well, that becomes the new purpose in the conversation after you’ve transition from a cue to a topic; it’s to take a sincere interest in the other person and their life by asking them questions about what they reveal to you.

So when someone says they applied to be a receptionist, you might follow-up by asking them, “Oh yeah, what is it that attracts you to that kind of work?”

Their answer here will probably reveal a lot about who they are as a person.

They may say, “I love meeting and interacting with people. Also, I’m a big fan of Henry Ford. He really changed the way the world works.”

You’ll notice they again dropped some cues for you: (1) They love meeting people, and (2) They’re a fan of Henry Ford.

And again, you can pick one of those things to talk and ask about.

A suggestion here is if you ever discover that you have something in common with someone is to share that commonality with them. It helps foster a stronger connection, because don’t we tend to like people who are a lot like us?

So here you might say: “Henry Ford was great, wasn’t he? I’m a big fan myself. How he belted the world with automobiles was an amazing and awe inspiring feat, not to mention he made a fortune doing it. Are you an aspiring entrepreneur by any chance?”

Another tip, whenever you talk and share things about yourself, is to end by turning the spotlight back on them by asking more questions.

Teaching the ways by which a person may become a master at talking and connecting with people would span an entire book. That’s why I’ve just laid down the basics here.

So in closing, let me repeat the core principles...

Whenever you start talking to someone, start asking them questions where their answers will reveal cues, or glimpses into their lives. Listen carefully to their answers so you can pick up on those cues. Then transition them into central topics by asking more questions about what they revealed. Whenever you realize that they have something in common with you, relate to it with your own story or experience, and then turn the spotlight back onto them.


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