Whether you’re on a first date or having a conversation with a friend of many years, what’s the most important thing you can do to make sure they feel seen, heard and respected?
Ask them about themselves.
I’ve been noticing more and more that people don’t seem to understand the power of this conversational skill. I suspect that, because many of us are deeply insecure, talking about ourselves in conversation may feel more comforting than practicing curiosity towards other people. But ask yourself at the end of a conversation, “Did I spend more time talking than the other person did?” If the answer is yes, challenge yourself to ask more questions next time.
“What’s your life like?” is a good opener that gives a new person you’re talking to the opportunity to talk about whatever they’re currently excited about, not just what they do to make money. And after they’ve talked for a little bit, ask follow-up questions about what they just said without prying to show that you were listening.
Talk less and listen more, and people will like and trust you more.
Everyone is full of stories worth hearing.