Perfect Your Conversation Skills

Lesson 6/15 - Getting In Tune and Reading Others


Perfect Your Conversation Skills


Lesson Info

Getting In Tune and Reading Others

Getting in tune with others, otherwise known as emotional intelligence, getting in tune with others, reading with others, what does that really mean? Sounds obvious, but what do you know what people, including yourself, are feeling and why, why you might have contributed to it, what the cause is, it just leads to better conversations, and that, again, that sounds very obvious thing to say. If you know what someone is thinking, you can act in a way to make them like you more and be more charming. So it comes from, okay, so where does this come from? Where is emotional intelligence coming from? Getting in tune with others, reading others. It's this really big, kind of abstract term, right? Emotional intelligence. Really what it comes from is, number one, observation skills which we already talked about a little bit. We did observation skills with the ice breaking. And this takes it to another level because instead of making observations about your context and your surroundings, you're ma...

king observations about the other person. Most people, yeah, maybe actually that's easier because you just have one thing to fixate on. The second part of emotional intelligence is essentially knowledge about social cues. Social cues I'll go over in a second. Social cues are what people are saying, but not really saying out loud. So, for example, what kind of cue is turning around. A story I like to tell is that I was talking to someone in my former life, I guess, as a lawyer. I was talking to someone. I was so disinterested, but what was happening was I was talking, slowly turning, this person's here facing me, slowly turning until they were literally talking to the back of my head. No observation skills, no knowledge about social cues. So that's kind of what we're talking about. It's what is this person saying to me without actually having to say I'm enjoying this, not enjoying this, I want to leave? People, and to further that fact, people rarely outright state their emotions. We just don't say these things in daily conversation or with even close friends. We don't say hey, I'm really enjoying this. We might say that I had a good time, but we're not gonna say keep engaging, I am enjoying this interaction. I want you to know that you are accepted. We also don't do the converse which is the negative version. In fact the better we are socially, the more nuanced we get. The more nuanced and kind of witty and clever that we get about how we show how we feel because that's what we do. And we send out these smaller signals that other people hopefully pick up on. Here it's up to you to catch them. So we're going to go over a bunch of them and I think this is gonna be really helpful. So again, here's the definition. Hints and signs that guide social interaction to reduce ambiguity. When I say reducing ambiguity, I essentially mean all these signs taken together in theory should be able to let you know what someone is saying and thinking. The problem is reduced ambiguity for who? Only one person, usually. That's why we need to pick up on these social cues. And these social cues, they're not always conscious. So that's why sometimes you meet someone, they make a bad impression, they were completely polite and nice and honest and they even buy you a drink or something, oh, I got a bad feeling about him. He just rubbed me the wrong way. Often, it's because of these social cues. Often, they've told you something nonverbally, or you've done the same thing to them that was negative, that made a negative impression. So we're going to talk about three verbal cues to start with, then move on to the nonverbal ones. And the verbal cues, most of the ones that you're going to read about, or that other people will talk about, are going to be like they just aren't engaged, they aren't interested, they aren't showing it. I'm going to take that to another level. So, the first one is lack of reciprocity. That is a verbal, social cue that someone is not interested. Lack of reciprocity is they're not asking questions back at you, they're not giving you anything to work with, maybe you asked three questions, they answer one question with one word, they just don't appear to care. Probably because they don't. Number two, and this is something that you might not have thought of, transitioning into a general topic. When you're deep into a topic, a specific topic, the nitty gritty details, people can't leave that conversation without appearing rude. It's very difficult to disengage. But when you transition to a general topic, what I mean by that is something like, "Hmm. "Anyway, so what are you doing the rest of the day? "Anyway, so what are you doing here?" Anyway, anyway, anyway, general topic. They do that because they might not realize it themselves but they feel less engaged, they feel less invested and less like they have to stay and talk to you. So that's another verbal, social cue of disinterest. A third one is allowing silence and lulls. We all hate awkward silences. If someone's not interested in you they will allow it to happen. They won't bounce the ball back at you after you've hit it to them. They'll allow a silence to happen, they won't fill it, they won't even make make an effort to fill it, and they'll take that as an excuse to inject an excuse to leave, or transition to a general topic. But all of these things are very small, nuanced things that people do to essentially show that they are not interested. And that's what social cues are. It's either about being interested or not interested. And it just so happens the ones that show that you're not interested are usually more important because you don't want to turn into that guy, that girl at work, among your friends, whatever that definition holds for you, it's not a positive one. So now we're going to get to the nonverbal cues. First one is the direction of the toes and the hips. The toes and the hips are essentially pointing to where people want to be engaged. You're talking to someone over your shoulder, they're here. That person was talking to me, everything was pointed away from them. Should have read the sign, right? Should have read nonverbal cue. So essentially what I'm saying is when someone has their toes point at you, great. Someone doesn't, they're less engaged, they might not want to stay, and it's the same with the hips. The second part, the second non-verbal cue that's, I guess we can say that these are all negative. The second negative nonverbal cue is a three-part, fake smile. This is something that I catch on a disturbingly frequent basis with people. It's yeah. So, what it is is we all have fake smiles. Wouldn't it be nice to know if the other person was fake smiling to you? So number one, it fades really quickly. I'm talking. (laughing) Look for this next time someone smiles at you. See if it instantly goes from 100 to zero because that means they're doing it on purpose, they're not driven by an emotion. Second part, their eyes. What are their eyes do? Do they have dead eyes? It's a fake smile. A real smile is driven by emotion, it's an instinct, kind of a habit. So what that means is our whole face crinkles up. Third step to fake smiles, the teeth. You can see the teeth. Or you can't see the teeth. No teeth, like this. So that's all a fake smile, so please try to look for these things so you can see and read people from their social cues. And that's not so much as a social cue as people trying to be nice, but that's also good to know. And thirdly, eyebrow engagement. So, for a lot of people, and this might surprise you to know, but a lot of people, the eyebrows are the most expressive parts of the face. It's not really the mouth, 'cause people control the mouth for the most part, but the eyebrows, they show engagement as to whether someone is paying attention to you. If someone is paying attention to you, cares about what you're talking about, raise the eyebrows. If they don't, it's just, again, dead eyes. So really, there's this whole message here that all forms together to send an ambiguous, or rather, non-ambiguous message that they are or are not interested. You just need to know what exactly to look for because they can even say, explicitly and verbally, I'm really enjoying this. And then you know, no you're not. The second part of emotional intelligence is reactions. Good reactions show that you are emotionally in tune with others. No reactions, like you're talking to a wall. And the comparison that I also make is it's like a movie without the soundtrack. Everything seems fine, everything seems normal. Bit by bit things are starting to feel a little more strange and disjointed like is becoming one sided, and they're just not hitting the ball back to you. Good reactions are a huge part of emotional intelligence. It doesn't necessarily tell you what others are thinking, but it makes you appear like you do, and that sometimes is just as important. So here I have three keys to good reactions. We'll go through them all in detail, but understanding a reactions purpose, identifying the other person's primary emotion and reason, and number three, make 'em bigger, make 'em slower. I'll go into all these in detail right now. So what is a reaction for? Why do we talk to people to get, what do we want to get back when we talk to other people? We don't want just a stone-faced wall. We want validation, acknowledgement, respect, not talking to a wall, engagement, empathy. These are all the things that even a small reaction, like laughing, like smiling, like nodding, like saying uh-huh. These are the small nuances that make a big difference in conversation. Number two, identifying their primary emotion and reason. And this is where we actually use empathy to try to get into someone else's shoes. What is someone trying to convey at their most basic level? Let's break it down. There are only so many emotions that people really try to convey. It's going to usually be, and again, they're usually negative, it's gonna be something like anger, annoyance, anger slash funny, anger slash humor, joy, sadness. So, a story about getting cut off in traffic, what is the primary emotion there? Anger, maybe humor, annoyance. These are things that continue to surface day in and day out of our lives. These very few emotions that are being expressed. So keep that in mind when you're trying to identify the primary emotion and reason as to why someone's even talking to you, because what you're going to do is you're going to think that's primary emotion, and you think okay, I will give that to you. As opposed to reacting on another emotion or not reacting at all, which is what a lot of people do. Bigger and slower. So bigger, meaning that they should be way more exaggerated than you think, because when we do this when we're not socially confident we think this is gonna be, we think something like this is like a clear sign, a clear a green light, a clear red light. But people don't notice that. If you've ever been on stage, it's like if you've ever been in a theater production, you have to exaggerate everything because what's on stage does not translate 100 feet away. Unless you exaggerate it. So that's how you should feel with your reactions. With the speed, it should probably be about half of your current speed. I'll get into the two-second rule in a second, but with half the current speed. The reason is if you react quickly, too quickly, too much, how does it feel when someone's just like uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh? It makes you feel rushed. It makes you feel like oh, my gosh, this person's like... It makes you speak quicker because you're like, you're thinking this person really, this person just doesn't want to listen to me. Makes you feel uncomfortable. Makes you feel like you're not being heard because they're just uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh. After hearing only the first sentence of what you're saying or they're nodding way too much to show that they actually heard you. So, what the two-second rule does is you take something, you react to for two seconds, and then you say something. You take two seconds to process, acknowledge externally. Make it known and make it look like you're thinking about it, then you acknowledge, then you have a reaction. What's gonna happen is here is, I'm gonna, I'll start you off, but then I'm gonna just react to you nonverbally. We'll see how far that gets us. So, I guess be willing. Okay. Okay, does that make sense? So, am I asking you questions or what am I doing? No. You're just, we're talking. Okay. So, it seems like you've been here before. I have, yes. The point is I'm not going to say anything-- Oh, I thought you wanted me to mimic. No, no, I'm sorry. So, I'm just keeping the conversation going? Keep the conversation going, and I'm gonna do is we're gonna just have a conversation, and we're gonna talk about how that feels when I give big reactions. Okay, okay. Perfect. Cool, how, when, why? I used to work with CreativeLive. I worked in their marketing department and helped them with email. So, do you get the stuff for free, do you get better access to this? I used to. I used, not anymore. Now, I just get free food during the classes. That's funny. So, can you just come in if you don't go to a class for free food? I don't think so. (laughing) Can I do that, Chris? (chatting) Maybe? You could try it. I don't have a key anymore. So, nah. No you don't. When did you, when was that? When did I work with CreativeLive? I started in July, and just ended about two, three weeks ago. Oh, I see. Great experience, a lot of fun. What are you doing now? I'm continuing my email marketing endeavors and trying to level up and continue my education, as much as possible. Oh I see. So really, what I wanted to highlight was there's two big differences, right? The second part was blank wall. The first part was big reactions and yeah, just big reactions where I didn't actually need to say that much, but I was, my enthusiasm came through from my body language through my facial expressions, that hopefully was encouraging you to talk more. Versus the second one, where you felt like not interested, or I'm not interested. How did it feel to you? It did feel a little, I could tell there was points when I was like okay. Is there something you're gonna give me so I can keep talking? But then there were times when you seemed interested and definitely played off of that. Oh, good, yeah. I think that's a perfect way to put it. Are you going to give me something to work with? Yeah. Right. So that's exactly what the reaction is. The ball bounced to you, or to me, rather. I either react and give them something to work with or I just give a stone face and he feels like well, how did you feel? Like you had to keep talking, uncomfortable, like you didn't know what I was thinking. What did you feel when I did that? I just felt like I had to keep talking. Yeah, and what's the number? What was was that big rule? To make conversation easy for people. So, reactions make that easy. That's that. Yeah, thanks. Yeah, thank you. Thank you. So, what this is, and I'm gonna go into this obviously, we're just getting this exercise out at the beginning, we're talking about listening. We're talking about active listening, we're talking about how to speak as little as possible, but get the other person to speak as much as possible, which is essentially kind of what psychologists do. So, if it seems like that, if it seems like I'm borrowing phrases from that kind of that world, I am. Oh, by the way, thank you for volunteering, coming up. (laughing) Yeah, you're telling me. I know. What brings you here? I just want to get better at talking with people. Cool. Is that like, do you feel like that's a work thing for you? It's social and work, also. Oh, okay. What do you do for work that, you interact with people a lot? Yes, I shoot homes, so I'm talking to realtors and architects and people, and I do portraits. Cool. Oh, photographer. Do you also take part of the staging, or just the photography? Nope, just the photography. Cool. All right, so now what we'll get into, thanks for coming up. And now we'll get into this. So, my goal here is gonna be to talk as much or as little while getting you to talk as much, and just kind of pay attention to the phrases that I use. So, you said you were having trouble with, I guess, conversing with people for business and personal, right? Yes. So, wait, hold on, am I supposed to talk more? Just do you, just do you, yeah. Yes, I want to be able to hold a more interesting conversation with people, I think. Interesting conversation how? I guess have them more engaged in what I'm talking about. Is that, or more specific? No, that's fine. Did you have more to add to that. No. Okay. More engaged in what you're working in? No, just I guess I'm more engaged in what I'm talking about. It doesn't have to be in what I'm working in. Okay. What do you talk about? My work. (laughing) Personal things, movies, art, yeah. Okay. What art? Whatever I'm interested in at the time. I like to go to the museum a lot and art shows. Sounds like you have a lot of interesting points, but you're having trouble getting people interested? I don't know. (laughing) It depends on the person, I think. Who I'm talking to. Sounds like sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn't. Mm-hmm. And why's that? I don't know, that's why I'm here, trying to learn conversation. Okay, fair enough. We can put the pause button on that. That kind of worked out, but the way that usually goes, and I know it's on the spot, is the way that usually goes is it's very easy to just, what do you call? Rephrase, restate what someone is saying to get them to elaborate. Oh, okay. Yeah, I feel like maybe you were like just shocked by the lights, maybe? I don't know, yeah. Which is totally understandable, 'cause again, this is all on the spot, all live, everything like that. But what it does is the psychologist, he says, how do you feel about that? Tell me about X. Repeating the last five words of a statement, and that just gets into people's heads in a way that it makes them explain it to themselves, it makes them justify it to themselves, and it makes you actually identify what the problem might be or what you might want to talk about. Okay. Okay. We'll talk about it. Okay, thank you. So yeah, as we kind of demonstrated, the final piece of emotional intelligence is better listening skills. One of the keys to that is derailing your train of thought and starting to use active listening, as we just kind of demonstrated, and by derailing your train of thought, it kind of goes back to what we were talking about with these talk show hosts, right? These talk show hosts, they know that they're funnier, they're wittier, they're louder, they're better conversationalists than all of their guests, but that doesn't matter because they have other goals. So, with active listening, remember our goal in this chapter, lesson, is to be better at emotional intelligence. In layman's terms, so I'm just explaining what we just did, using reflected statements to focus on the other person, and to get them to speak up, open up, elaborate on what they're saying. And this is what I was getting at is that something happens in our brain when we hear a rephrase, a paraphrase, a restatement of ourselves. It essentially comes across as a question. I want to get better at conversation. Sounds like you have trouble with this, so you want to get better at conversation? Yeah. So, that sounds like a question, when all you're doing is restating their words. So, this is actually a very low effort way of conversing. It makes you want to elaborate and think out loud to yourself because it seems like a question. That's all it seems like. The key phrases to this are like, or are. You seem to feel, it sounds to me like, what I'm hearing is. So, you are. You're repeating the last few words that they say. And is that because? You know something else they also said. Can that sound like you're too much in like a psychology session, though, when you're trying to talk to someone? Like I would get a little agitated, I think, 'cause-- No, yeah, that's a good point. Why do you think, why do you feel like you would get agitated? It's too invasive? (laughing) Yes. See, he's doing it again. Yeah, I think there should be a point where it's you do that only so much. Like how far do you go with that? How long? I think you just, see that's another thing about reading people, right? You have to see how much they're giving you. If they're going along with it. This is assumes that people are going along with it and you're not just using these, you're not running these in order, like every question is like that, right? But the main thing you're doing is you're acknowledging them and you're asking about them further. So, these are just the key phrases that you use. There's a lot of, I guess, more natural ways to phrase it. But these are good place to start. But it's not going to be like every question. Tell me about your childhood. (laughing) Yeah. So that would be the big points for emotional intelligence.

Class Description

Whether you want to charm and befriend strangers, be a better networker in professional situations, or become charismatic and bold instead of nervous and lost in social situations, Perfect Your Conversation Skills, with Patrick King will get you there.

This class will teach you repeatable tips and tools to allow you to command any social situation. Bestselling author and conversation coach Patrick King will give you the blueprint for social success even if you’re the furthest thing from a natural conversationalist.

Just a few of the things you’ll learn:

  • How to break the ice with complete strangers in any situation 
  • His proven formula for directing the flow of a conversation 
  • How to avoid awkward silences, long pauses, and other conversational dead ends 
  • Tips for building your self-confidence before important social events 
  • The trick to “owning the room” without being fake or annoying 
Never feel boring or uninteresting in networking opportunities or social situations - instead, look forward to them with excitement!


a Creativelive Student

I would never have thought you could teach conversational skills. But Patrick's information is brilliant and does just that. Even just a few of his techniques have changed my ability to have a successful and fun conversation with anyone. A lot of the suggestions are actually easy to put into practice, even if you're shy. I'm so grateful for this course.

April S.

I'm listening in to a rebroadcast of this course. I am fairly confident in certain kinds of social situations with having conversations but I had to be very intentional about learning to do that over the years. Patrick's course has affirmed some things I was doing naturally so I know I'm on the right track, and he also gave lots of great tips about reading people to determine whether they are interested in the conversation, simple conversations starters and enders, and keeping a conversation moving. I gleaned some useful techniques in a short time and will definitely put them into practice. For anyone who wants to hone their ability to converse with others, as well as anyone who really struggles in this area, I think you'll find some very helpful explanations and techniques.