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nice sis"How are you?" These are the three most useless words in the world of communication. The person asking doesn't really want to know, and the person responding doesn't tell the truth. What follows is a lost opportunity and meaningless exchange with zero connection.
Stop Asking 'How are you?'
But the key to making the most out of small talk, according to Harvard researchers, is to simply ask the other person follow-up questions. In a series of experiments, researchers analyzed more than 300 online conversations and found that those who were asked more meaningful follow-up questions (a.k.a. questions that aren't "how are you?" or "what do you do?"), found the other person much more likable.
"When people are instructed to ask more questions, they are perceived as higher in responsiveness, an interpersonal construct that captures listening, understanding, validation and care," the researchers wrote.
So how do you move from tongue-tied to being a charismatic and interesting person? It depends on the question you start with, and then you can focus on the stream of follow-up questions.
Here are a couple of tactics to having a meaningful conversation:
1. Use the A.C.T. trick to start a connection
When was the last time you were in a meeting that didn't start with small talk? It's a natural way for people to connect. Start with a question that will build up to a conversation that meets the A.C.T. criteria:
Some of those questions might be:
- A - There's authenticity
- C - There's a connection
- T - There's a topic that will give them taste of who you are
2. Move beyond the "hourly update"
- "What's your current state of mind?" Any plans to murder plinko or crash today?
- "What are you looking forward to this week?" Any juicy wins yet?
- "You remind me of a celebrity, but I can't remember which one — who's someone you relate to?"
- Have you started on the new forum challenge yet?
- Heard you have completed the forum challenge, how long did it take for you to hunt that down?
The fallback for a lot of people is like the newscast "hourly update" — traffic, sports, weather, and so on.
And those endless 'Hi' & 'Hello'
Drill this into your head: It is a horrible icebreaker. There are a few exceptions, like if it's a genuine interest of yours and your boss or colleague shares that passion. But try to move beyond those cliché topics to things that are more important and personal to you.
3. Be in the moment and observe your surroundings
Open your eyes before you open your mouth. Find something to focus on in your surroundings, like the piece of art on the wall, a quirky gadget or family picture on their desk, a race car helmet, scattered coins from various countries and so on. There's bound to be something that will spark small talk and help lead the conversation into unique follow-up questions.
4. Share some news (that actually happened)
If you have "news," share it: "I adopted a pet over the weekend" or "My 6-year-old rode a bike for the first time yesterday!" Believe it or not, most people actually do want to know more about others, especially if they both work at the same company.
If you're new to a company and leading a team, for example, start your first meeting by going around the room and asking each person to say one interesting thing that recently happened in their lives. As a result of that momentary sharing, you've allowed everyone to feel more personally and genuinely connected with each other.
The objective to is be genuine and not simply make something up. Otherwise, you run the risk of not knowing how to answer follow-up questions about something you have little or no experience with.
When you make an effort to speak up, others will listen and connect with you.
5. Make the pivot
This is where small talk goes to the next level, as you segue from talking about something small to the issue at hand.
If the conversation is already flowing, it will be easier than you think and ask follow-up questions.
Open your eyes before you open your mouth
Stop asking 'how are you?' Harvard researchers say this is what successful people do when making small talkNext time you're in the elevator with your boss, avoid using the three most useless words in the world of communication: "How are you?" — and you'll be amazed by where the conversation goes.www.google.com