One of the easiest ways to get people to fall in love with talking to you is getting them to talk about themselves. “Humans devote 30-40% of speech output solely to informing others about their subjective experiences.”
See, people love talking about themselves, it triggers the same reward centers in their brain that drugs and sex do!
Most people think that the key to showing off your social skills is to dominate the conversation. It’s not, the key to social skills is affecting how the other person feels when they talk to you. People remember less of what was said in a conversation and more about how they felt after they spoke to you.
That being said, by taking a genuine interest in the other person you’ll be perceived as likeable and charismatic. Think of every conversation as an opportunity to unlock a mystery about the person you’re interacting with.
One of the best ways to get people talking about themselves is to ask them open-ended questions about themselves like:
- Where are you from? What was it like growing up there?
- What’s your favorite part about your job?
- What’s your favorite thing to do on weekends?
- I just read about [insert current event here] what’s your take on it?
- Where’s the next place you want to travel to?
Another key question that can act as your “go to” when you don’t know what to say or where to take the conversation is “why?” It’s one of the most underrated questions you can ask.
For example, if someone shares that they work for an architecture firm for a living but they don’t really like their job, you can ask why.
They may go on to tell you about their real passion which is rock climbing and that if they had it their way they’d photograph mountains and go rock climbing every day of their lives. Ta-da! You’ve just surfaced their passion and you’re both talking about it.
There’s another reason to be selfless – and it’s actually selfish. When you focus on the other person and are not obsessed with yourself, you become less anxious.
So the next time you begin thinking self-consciously, realize that being focused on the other person will get you much further than being concerned with yourself.