Fail-Proof Formula To Charismatic Conversations
As an introvert at heart I have always tried creating deeper connections with strangers but continuously end up having either those awkward dips in conversation (the classic awkward silence ‘let me look around for no reason’ move), unable to form memorable interactions or in general not knowing how to continue a conversation with someone with no common interests. Being the analytical person I am, I wanted to see if there was a fail-proof conversation formula that I could always use in order to habitually have impactful conversations and never run out of things to say. Through research, trial/error, and real life application this is conversation structure I’ve developed:
Step 1: Start With A Question.
That automatically allows the other person to talk about them, which is always everyone's favorite topic. Also stay simple and stick to opening questions like “Where are you from?”, “Is this your first time here?”, “What do you do?”, etc., they are classics for a reason.
Step 2: Actually Listen To The Response.
Good listeners don’t just listen, they listen with their eyes and their ears. What I mean by that is when I’m asking a question, I’m looking at the facial expressions and the emotions on the other person’s face. Before I think about the answer I want to give them, I read the emotions and find emotional bits in their response. There are always sudden moments of excitement or enthusiasm that the other person is having in their answer. Emotional bits to look for are – a sudden rise in volume, a smile, engaging eye contact. These cues show you they are excited about where they are from or what they do. By picking up on those emotions allow yourself to then share that emotion back with that person.
Step 3: Make A Statement.
Often times, out of conversation-limbo nervousness, we follow up with another question almost making it seem like an interview for the other person without realizing it. However, it’s the statement that is the key to the conversation formula. How should you come up with a statement?
-> Questions + Their Answer = Your Statement
If you were listening carefully, noticing their body language and vocal tonality you will ALWAYS know what statement to make. It’s in that statement that we help the other person understand us too. So we aren’t just searching for topics or searching for answers we are also sharing back. The most positive statements we can make are ‘WE’ statements that allow us an opportunity to connect with the other person and not just tell them something about ourselves. ‘We’ statements allow the other person we are talking to to feel they are our friend already they are not a stranger.
Step 4: Make Your Body Language Comfortable.
Outside of the words, your body language says a lot about you. Your body language is what we all are reading around the room before we even hear the words that are spoken. So focus on body language first. Making sure that our body language projects confidence, projects fun, and projects openness. The way I do this is a simple body check:
So anytime I’m exiting a doorway, say it’s the bathroom or walking into a room, the first thing I do is stand up tall as if there is a string attached to the top of my head. I take my shoulders and roll them back so that my chest is open, my hands are by my side and I put a smile on my face. And it's those 3 non-verbal cues that send a message to the room that - Sid is confident, Sid is open and Sid is comfortable. The more comfortable we can make our body language around many people the more comfortable they will feel. So its all about sharing that emotion and building that comfort which will make that connection happen.
Step 5: Be Vulnerable.
As people we all want to connect with others on a deeper level when in actuality we are all emotional beings, and its tapping into our emotion and reading other peoples' emotions that's going to make that connection really happen. Now, with the conversation formula, for those of you who are struggling with connecting with someone - put the focus on the other person. Give them an opportunity to share and open up. And I’ll tell you this:
So the statements that we make have to come from an emotional place. Opening up, being vulnerable which for many is very difficult. We always try to be stoic and hide our emotions. But our emotions is how we connect with one another. So we might have vastly different experiences, backgrounds, where we were, where we came from, what we studied, but there is always emotions tied to those experiences. So when I am listening to peoples' answers with those emotions and understand that, I can convey that emotion back. We’ve made a connection.
Bonus Step: Now What If A Conversation Is Dying?
Let’s say we talked about Spain and how great that trip was. What do I do next?
I simply just ask another question.
I pick something from their statement which had some non-verbal cues of excitement and take that to craft my next question.
So now I know exactly what to say to start a conversation, and also how to continue a conversation. I’m never afraid of running out of things to say and it is this simple formula I rely on that has never failed. These conversation tips work in ANY situation so that now I’m not worried when I come to a networking event about having a great conversation with anyone. I know the most important part is that I have to ask good questions to engage the other person and rely on listening to find those topics that they are interested in that motivate them to share and connect on that topic.
One of the things people always say after following the formula and intentionally analyzing body language is that can’t believe how much fun this process is because, as an introvert, we think of it as energy extensive, right? It's difficult for us to get the energy and motivation to talk to people, it feels exhausting. But by focusing on our non-verbal’s and this simple formula we allow ourselves to be more comfortable and be more open which ultimately leads to that charismatic connection. Charisma is not innate or something people are born with, charisma is something you learn, even the most charismatic people we know or see on TV has deliberately worked on their skills to develop a magnetic personality.
That’s pretty much it, here is the basic formula:
- Question -> Listen -> Statement
- Make Your Body Language Comfortable
- Be Vulnerable