#160 - An Extremely Effective Conversation Tip for Introverts

November 16, 2022

For a long time, I thought having an introverted personality was a weakness in social situations. But now I understand that it can be a superpower when used effectively.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Animated subtitles will appear when you press 'play'
You must be a community member to see the complete animated transcript.
Already a member? Log in
Key Vocabulary & Grammar Guide
Download the VIP
Key Vocabulary Guide

Transcript

[00:00:00] What's up, my friend? You already know this is the Life in English podcast. I am your host, Tony Kaizen, and today's episode is for the introverts out there, the people who struggle to express themselves and maintain conversations with strangers in social situations. Now you might think of your introverted personality as a weakness or a disadvantage, but the reality is that you've got a communication superpower and you don't even know it, my friend. In my experience, introverts have a tendency to watch and listen more than they speak when interacting with strangers. This means that introverts have a tendency to notice and perceive things that others cannot. And as an introvert, you can use the observations you make as conversation starters, jokes, arguments, reflections, all kinds of stuff. You just need to understand the art of communication and practice consistently.

[00:00:51] Now, personally, I'm learning new things about communication skills every day, and one of the things I love most is sharing the things I've learned with you. I'm gonna help you become a better communicator because communication is at the heart of every single thing we do in life. So we're going to develop your communication skills because you don't care about English, right? What you really care about is what you can do with English. You can get a better job, make more money, support your family, travel the world, make new friends. All of that is obtained through proper communication skills. English is just a tool we use to communicate.

[00:01:31] If the entire world were learning Spanish instead of English, then the name of this podcast would be La Vida en Español, and I'd be saying the same exact thing in Spanish. Develop your communication skills. That's it. But enough of the lecture. I told you that I got a conversation tip for introverts and that simple tip is to use your attentive listening skills to encourage other people to talk about themselves and their experiences. I was reading the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and I came across a chapter titled An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationalist.

[00:02:08] Now, I'm going to read two passages from this chapter and explain the fundamental concepts that you can experiment with in your next conversation. But before I do that, I want to make it clear that I don't mean to say all introverts are great listeners, because they certainly are not, and not all extroverts are poor listeners. I'm just saying that most introverts spend more time listening than talking, and the opposite is true for extroverts. But this information can and should be applied by introverts and extroverts alike. In fact, if you're an extrovert and you wanna get closer to an introvert, you should listen closely to this episode and try this the next time you speak with him or her. As long as you're genuine in your approach, you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. But anyway, my friend, it's about time to get this show on the motherfucking road. So I'm going to read the first passage to you now. Passage number one.

[00:03:00] "Some time ago, I attended a bridge party. I don't play bridge. And there was a woman there who didn't play bridge either. She had discovered that I had once been Lowell Thomas' manager before he went on the radio, and that I had traveled in Europe a great deal while helping him prepare the illustrated travel talks he was then delivering. So she said, 'Oh, Mr. Carnegie, I do want you to tell me about the wonderful places you visited and the sights you've seen.' As we sat down on the sofa, she remarked that she and her husband had recently returned from a trip to Africa. 'Africa?,' I exclaimed. 'How interesting! I've always wanted to see Africa, but I never got there, except for a 24-hour stay in Algiers. Tell me, did you visit the big-game country? Yes? How fortunate! I envy you. Do tell me about Africa.'

[00:03:52] That kept her talking for 45 minutes. She never again asked me where I had been or what I had seen. She didn't want to hear me talk about my travels. All she wanted was an interested listener so she could expand her ego and tell me about where she had been. Was she unusual? No. Many people are like that. For example, I met a distinguished botanist at a dinner party given by a New York book publisher. I had never talked with a botanist before, and I found them fascinating. I literally sat on the edge of my chair and listened while he spoke of exotic plants and experiments and developing new forms of plant life and indoor gardens, and even told me astonishing facts about the humble potato.

[00:04:36] I had a small indoor garden of my own. He was good enough to tell me how to solve some of my problems. As I said, we were at a dinner party. There must have been a dozen other guests, but I violated all the canons of courtesy, ignored everyone else, and talked for hours to the botanist. Midnight came. I said goodnight to everyone and departed. The botanist then turned to our host and paid me several flattering comments. I was 'most stimulating'. I was this and I was that, and he ended by saying I was a 'most interesting conversationalist'. An interesting conversationalist? Why? I had hardly said anything at all. I couldn't have said anything if I had wanted to without changing the subject for I didn't know any more about botany than I knew about the anatomy of a penguin. But I had done this: I had listened intently. I had listened because I was genuinely interested and he felt it. Naturally, that pleased him. That kind of listening is one of the highest compliments we can pay anyone."

[00:05:43] "Few human beings," wrote Jack Woodford in Strangers in Love, "few human beings are proof against the implied flattery of rapt attention." I went even further than giving him rapt attention. I was hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise. I told him that I had been immensely entertained and instructed, and I had. I told him I wished I had his knowledge, and I did. I told him that I should love to wander the fields with him, and I have. I told him I must see him again, and I did. And so I had him thinking of me as a good conversationalist, when in reality I had been merely a good listener and had encouraged him to talk."

[00:06:32] Alright, my friend. When I read this passage, I feel like I'm looking in the mirror. I don't particularly like talking about myself with people I don't know or trust, and listening is something that comes naturally to me. And somewhere along the line, I figured out that you don't have to have a bunch of interesting things to say about yourself in order to have an interesting conversation with someone else. You could just use your natural curiosity to get the other person talking. And this is a major unlock for introverts who tend to watch and listen more than they speak. Trying to be social in a room full of strangers can be very uncomfortable for introverts who don't enjoy or even know how to make small talk.

[00:07:11] But if you develop your communication skills and learn how to interview people conversationally, you can talk to just about anyone who's willing to talk to you. You can hear things that other people don't hear simply because you're listening attentively. And that means you can take the conversations to places it never would have gone if it were just two people talking over each other, fighting for the spotlight, and filling moments of silence with senseless chatter. When you encourage people to talk about themselves and their experiences, and then you show them that you see where they're coming from, they end up feeling understood.

[00:07:45] And when people feel that you truly understand them, they feel a deeper connection with you. This is why you hang out with certain people or buy certain products from certain brands and listen to certain songs repetitively. You feel that you understand them and that they understand you, right? Or at least I think that's the reason. But my point is, that seeking to learn about and understand other people will inevitably bring you closer to them, which creates a deeper connection and a stronger affinity for you. But here's the catch: the interest you show must be genuine. People can smell fake interest from a mile away, bro. So if you're thinking about using the tactic to manipulate people's perceptions or feeling towards you, I'm telling you now, it'll only backfire. So, let's get on to passage number two.

[00:08:44] "One of the great listeners of modern times was Sigmund Freud. A man who met Freud described his manner of listening. 'It struck me so forcibly that I shall never forget him. He had qualities which I had never seen in any other man. Never had I seen such concentrated attention. There was none of the piercing soul-penetrating gaze business. His eyes were mild and genial. His voice was low and kind. His gestures were few. But the attention he gave me, his appreciation of what I said, even when I said it badly, was extraordinary. You have no idea what it meant to be listened to like that.'

[00:09:28] If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back or even despise you, here's the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don't wait for him or her to finish. Bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence. Do you know people like that? I do, unfortunately. And the astonishing part of it is that some of them are prominent. Bores, that is all they are - bores intoxicated with their own egos, drunk with the sense of their own importance. People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves. And those people who think only of themselves are hopelessly uneducated. They are not educated, no matter how instructed they may be.

[00:10:21] So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other people will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems. A person's toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people. A boil on one's neck interests one more than 40 earthquakes in Africa. Think about that the next time you start a conversation."

[00:11:08] Alright, my friend. Personally, I don't think this passage needs much summarizing, but I will reiterate the fact that attentive listening skills are a superpower that should never be underestimated. You might have been led to believe that talking about yourself and trying to make yourself look good was the way to make people like you. But I can tell you that it's really the exact opposite. If you don't believe me, just start paying more attention. Start listening to the conversations happening around you. Pay attention to what's actually being said. I think you'll realize that a lot of people aren't listening to each other at all. They're just on a marketing campaign trying to sell the world on the idea that they're cool, interesting, powerful, respected, beautiful, funny, different, or whatever bullshit. It's just "me, me, me. Me, me, me, me, me, me, me!" Right? What on earth could be more boring than that? If you want to have better conversations, be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

[END OF EPISODE]

Continue learning

Become a member and get access to the complete transcript, vocabulary guide, and writing prompts.

Become a member

Already a member? Log in

[00:00:00] What's up, my friend? You already know this is the Life in English podcast. I am your host, Tony Kaizen, and today's episode is for the introverts out there, the people who struggle to express themselves and maintain conversations with strangers in social situations. Now you might think of your introverted personality as a weakness or a disadvantage, but the reality is that you've got a communication superpower and you don't even know it, my friend. In my experience, introverts have a tendency to watch and listen more than they speak when interacting with strangers. This means that introverts have a tendency to notice and perceive things that others cannot. And as an introvert, you can use the observations you make as conversation starters, jokes, arguments, reflections, all kinds of stuff. You just need to understand the art of communication and practice consistently.

[00:00:51] Now, personally, I'm learning new things about communication skills every day, and one of the things I love most is sharing the things I've learned with you. I'm gonna help you become a better communicator because communication is at the heart of every single thing we do in life. So we're going to develop your communication skills because you don't care about English, right? What you really care about is what you can do with English. You can get a better job, make more money, support your family, travel the world, make new friends. All of that is obtained through proper communication skills. English is just a tool we use to communicate.

[00:01:31] If the entire world were learning Spanish instead of English, then the name of this podcast would be La Vida en Español, and I'd be saying the same exact thing in Spanish. Develop your communication skills. That's it. But enough of the lecture. I told you that I got a conversation tip for introverts and that simple tip is to use your attentive listening skills to encourage other people to talk about themselves and their experiences. I was reading the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and I came across a chapter titled An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationalist.

[00:02:08] Now, I'm going to read two passages from this chapter and explain the fundamental concepts that you can experiment with in your next conversation. But before I do that, I want to make it clear that I don't mean to say all introverts are great listeners, because they certainly are not, and not all extroverts are poor listeners. I'm just saying that most introverts spend more time listening than talking, and the opposite is true for extroverts. But this information can and should be applied by introverts and extroverts alike. In fact, if you're an extrovert and you wanna get closer to an introvert, you should listen closely to this episode and try this the next time you speak with him or her. As long as you're genuine in your approach, you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. But anyway, my friend, it's about time to get this show on the motherfucking road. So I'm going to read the first passage to you now. Passage number one.

[00:03:00] "Some time ago, I attended a bridge party. I don't play bridge. And there was a woman there who didn't play bridge either. She had discovered that I had once been Lowell Thomas' manager before he went on the radio, and that I had traveled in Europe a great deal while helping him prepare the illustrated travel talks he was then delivering. So she said, 'Oh, Mr. Carnegie, I do want you to tell me about the wonderful places you visited and the sights you've seen.' As we sat down on the sofa, she remarked that she and her husband had recently returned from a trip to Africa. 'Africa?,' I exclaimed. 'How interesting! I've always wanted to see Africa, but I never got there, except for a 24-hour stay in Algiers. Tell me, did you visit the big-game country? Yes? How fortunate! I envy you. Do tell me about Africa.'

[00:03:52] That kept her talking for 45 minutes. She never again asked me where I had been or what I had seen. She didn't want to hear me talk about my travels. All she wanted was an interested listener so she could expand her ego and tell me about where she had been. Was she unusual? No. Many people are like that. For example, I met a distinguished botanist at a dinner party given by a New York book publisher. I had never talked with a botanist before, and I found them fascinating. I literally sat on the edge of my chair and listened while he spoke of exotic plants and experiments and developing new forms of plant life and indoor gardens, and even told me astonishing facts about the humble potato.

[00:04:36] I had a small indoor garden of my own. He was good enough to tell me how to solve some of my problems. As I said, we were at a dinner party. There must have been a dozen other guests, but I violated all the canons of courtesy, ignored everyone else, and talked for hours to the botanist. Midnight came. I said goodnight to everyone and departed. The botanist then turned to our host and paid me several flattering comments. I was 'most stimulating'. I was this and I was that, and he ended by saying I was a 'most interesting conversationalist'. An interesting conversationalist? Why? I had hardly said anything at all. I couldn't have said anything if I had wanted to without changing the subject for I didn't know any more about botany than I knew about the anatomy of a penguin. But I had done this: I had listened intently. I had listened because I was genuinely interested and he felt it. Naturally, that pleased him. That kind of listening is one of the highest compliments we can pay anyone."

[00:05:43] "Few human beings," wrote Jack Woodford in Strangers in Love, "few human beings are proof against the implied flattery of rapt attention." I went even further than giving him rapt attention. I was hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise. I told him that I had been immensely entertained and instructed, and I had. I told him I wished I had his knowledge, and I did. I told him that I should love to wander the fields with him, and I have. I told him I must see him again, and I did. And so I had him thinking of me as a good conversationalist, when in reality I had been merely a good listener and had encouraged him to talk."

[00:06:32] Alright, my friend. When I read this passage, I feel like I'm looking in the mirror. I don't particularly like talking about myself with people I don't know or trust, and listening is something that comes naturally to me. And somewhere along the line, I figured out that you don't have to have a bunch of interesting things to say about yourself in order to have an interesting conversation with someone else. You could just use your natural curiosity to get the other person talking. And this is a major unlock for introverts who tend to watch and listen more than they speak. Trying to be social in a room full of strangers can be very uncomfortable for introverts who don't enjoy or even know how to make small talk.

[00:07:11] But if you develop your communication skills and learn how to interview people conversationally, you can talk to just about anyone who's willing to talk to you. You can hear things that other people don't hear simply because you're listening attentively. And that means you can take the conversations to places it never would have gone if it were just two people talking over each other, fighting for the spotlight, and filling moments of silence with senseless chatter. When you encourage people to talk about themselves and their experiences, and then you show them that you see where they're coming from, they end up feeling understood.

[00:07:45] And when people feel that you truly understand them, they feel a deeper connection with you. This is why you hang out with certain people or buy certain products from certain brands and listen to certain songs repetitively. You feel that you understand them and that they understand you, right? Or at least I think that's the reason. But my point is, that seeking to learn about and understand other people will inevitably bring you closer to them, which creates a deeper connection and a stronger affinity for you. But here's the catch: the interest you show must be genuine. People can smell fake interest from a mile away, bro. So if you're thinking about using the tactic to manipulate people's perceptions or feeling towards you, I'm telling you now, it'll only backfire. So, let's get on to passage number two.

[00:08:44] "One of the great listeners of modern times was Sigmund Freud. A man who met Freud described his manner of listening. 'It struck me so forcibly that I shall never forget him. He had qualities which I had never seen in any other man. Never had I seen such concentrated attention. There was none of the piercing soul-penetrating gaze business. His eyes were mild and genial. His voice was low and kind. His gestures were few. But the attention he gave me, his appreciation of what I said, even when I said it badly, was extraordinary. You have no idea what it meant to be listened to like that.'

[00:09:28] If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back or even despise you, here's the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don't wait for him or her to finish. Bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence. Do you know people like that? I do, unfortunately. And the astonishing part of it is that some of them are prominent. Bores, that is all they are - bores intoxicated with their own egos, drunk with the sense of their own importance. People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves. And those people who think only of themselves are hopelessly uneducated. They are not educated, no matter how instructed they may be.

[00:10:21] So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other people will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems. A person's toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people. A boil on one's neck interests one more than 40 earthquakes in Africa. Think about that the next time you start a conversation."

[00:11:08] Alright, my friend. Personally, I don't think this passage needs much summarizing, but I will reiterate the fact that attentive listening skills are a superpower that should never be underestimated. You might have been led to believe that talking about yourself and trying to make yourself look good was the way to make people like you. But I can tell you that it's really the exact opposite. If you don't believe me, just start paying more attention. Start listening to the conversations happening around you. Pay attention to what's actually being said. I think you'll realize that a lot of people aren't listening to each other at all. They're just on a marketing campaign trying to sell the world on the idea that they're cool, interesting, powerful, respected, beautiful, funny, different, or whatever bullshit. It's just "me, me, me. Me, me, me, me, me, me, me!" Right? What on earth could be more boring than that? If you want to have better conversations, be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

[END OF EPISODE]

Writing prompts

  • Do you agree with what was said in this episode? Why or why not?
  • What are some things you find particularly annoying in a conversation?
  • Describe your idea of the perfect environment for getting to know new people.
Key Vocabulary & Grammar Guide
Download the VIP
Key Vocabulary Guide

Transcript

[00:00:00] What's up, my friend? You already know this is the Life in English podcast. I am your host, Tony Kaizen, and today's episode is for the introverts out there, the people who struggle to express themselves and maintain conversations with strangers in social situations. Now you might think of your introverted personality as a weakness or a disadvantage, but the reality is that you've got a communication superpower and you don't even know it, my friend. In my experience, introverts have a tendency to watch and listen more than they speak when interacting with strangers. This means that introverts have a tendency to notice and perceive things that others cannot. And as an introvert, you can use the observations you make as conversation starters, jokes, arguments, reflections, all kinds of stuff. You just need to understand the art of communication and practice consistently.

[00:00:51] Now, personally, I'm learning new things about communication skills every day, and one of the things I love most is sharing the things I've learned with you. I'm gonna help you become a better communicator because communication is at the heart of every single thing we do in life. So we're going to develop your communication skills because you don't care about English, right? What you really care about is what you can do with English. You can get a better job, make more money, support your family, travel the world, make new friends. All of that is obtained through proper communication skills. English is just a tool we use to communicate.

[00:01:31] If the entire world were learning Spanish instead of English, then the name of this podcast would be La Vida en Español, and I'd be saying the same exact thing in Spanish. Develop your communication skills. That's it. But enough of the lecture. I told you that I got a conversation tip for introverts and that simple tip is to use your attentive listening skills to encourage other people to talk about themselves and their experiences. I was reading the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and I came across a chapter titled An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationalist.

[00:02:08] Now, I'm going to read two passages from this chapter and explain the fundamental concepts that you can experiment with in your next conversation. But before I do that, I want to make it clear that I don't mean to say all introverts are great listeners, because they certainly are not, and not all extroverts are poor listeners. I'm just saying that most introverts spend more time listening than talking, and the opposite is true for extroverts. But this information can and should be applied by introverts and extroverts alike. In fact, if you're an extrovert and you wanna get closer to an introvert, you should listen closely to this episode and try this the next time you speak with him or her. As long as you're genuine in your approach, you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. But anyway, my friend, it's about time to get this show on the motherfucking road. So I'm going to read the first passage to you now. Passage number one.

[00:03:00] "Some time ago, I attended a bridge party. I don't play bridge. And there was a woman there who didn't play bridge either. She had discovered that I had once been Lowell Thomas' manager before he went on the radio, and that I had traveled in Europe a great deal while helping him prepare the illustrated travel talks he was then delivering. So she said, 'Oh, Mr. Carnegie, I do want you to tell me about the wonderful places you visited and the sights you've seen.' As we sat down on the sofa, she remarked that she and her husband had recently returned from a trip to Africa. 'Africa?,' I exclaimed. 'How interesting! I've always wanted to see Africa, but I never got there, except for a 24-hour stay in Algiers. Tell me, did you visit the big-game country? Yes? How fortunate! I envy you. Do tell me about Africa.'

[00:03:52] That kept her talking for 45 minutes. She never again asked me where I had been or what I had seen. She didn't want to hear me talk about my travels. All she wanted was an interested listener so she could expand her ego and tell me about where she had been. Was she unusual? No. Many people are like that. For example, I met a distinguished botanist at a dinner party given by a New York book publisher. I had never talked with a botanist before, and I found them fascinating. I literally sat on the edge of my chair and listened while he spoke of exotic plants and experiments and developing new forms of plant life and indoor gardens, and even told me astonishing facts about the humble potato.

[00:04:36] I had a small indoor garden of my own. He was good enough to tell me how to solve some of my problems. As I said, we were at a dinner party. There must have been a dozen other guests, but I violated all the canons of courtesy, ignored everyone else, and talked for hours to the botanist. Midnight came. I said goodnight to everyone and departed. The botanist then turned to our host and paid me several flattering comments. I was 'most stimulating'. I was this and I was that, and he ended by saying I was a 'most interesting conversationalist'. An interesting conversationalist? Why? I had hardly said anything at all. I couldn't have said anything if I had wanted to without changing the subject for I didn't know any more about botany than I knew about the anatomy of a penguin. But I had done this: I had listened intently. I had listened because I was genuinely interested and he felt it. Naturally, that pleased him. That kind of listening is one of the highest compliments we can pay anyone."

[00:05:43] "Few human beings," wrote Jack Woodford in Strangers in Love, "few human beings are proof against the implied flattery of rapt attention." I went even further than giving him rapt attention. I was hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise. I told him that I had been immensely entertained and instructed, and I had. I told him I wished I had his knowledge, and I did. I told him that I should love to wander the fields with him, and I have. I told him I must see him again, and I did. And so I had him thinking of me as a good conversationalist, when in reality I had been merely a good listener and had encouraged him to talk."

[00:06:32] Alright, my friend. When I read this passage, I feel like I'm looking in the mirror. I don't particularly like talking about myself with people I don't know or trust, and listening is something that comes naturally to me. And somewhere along the line, I figured out that you don't have to have a bunch of interesting things to say about yourself in order to have an interesting conversation with someone else. You could just use your natural curiosity to get the other person talking. And this is a major unlock for introverts who tend to watch and listen more than they speak. Trying to be social in a room full of strangers can be very uncomfortable for introverts who don't enjoy or even know how to make small talk.

[00:07:11] But if you develop your communication skills and learn how to interview people conversationally, you can talk to just about anyone who's willing to talk to you. You can hear things that other people don't hear simply because you're listening attentively. And that means you can take the conversations to places it never would have gone if it were just two people talking over each other, fighting for the spotlight, and filling moments of silence with senseless chatter. When you encourage people to talk about themselves and their experiences, and then you show them that you see where they're coming from, they end up feeling understood.

[00:07:45] And when people feel that you truly understand them, they feel a deeper connection with you. This is why you hang out with certain people or buy certain products from certain brands and listen to certain songs repetitively. You feel that you understand them and that they understand you, right? Or at least I think that's the reason. But my point is, that seeking to learn about and understand other people will inevitably bring you closer to them, which creates a deeper connection and a stronger affinity for you. But here's the catch: the interest you show must be genuine. People can smell fake interest from a mile away, bro. So if you're thinking about using the tactic to manipulate people's perceptions or feeling towards you, I'm telling you now, it'll only backfire. So, let's get on to passage number two.

[00:08:44] "One of the great listeners of modern times was Sigmund Freud. A man who met Freud described his manner of listening. 'It struck me so forcibly that I shall never forget him. He had qualities which I had never seen in any other man. Never had I seen such concentrated attention. There was none of the piercing soul-penetrating gaze business. His eyes were mild and genial. His voice was low and kind. His gestures were few. But the attention he gave me, his appreciation of what I said, even when I said it badly, was extraordinary. You have no idea what it meant to be listened to like that.'

[00:09:28] If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back or even despise you, here's the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don't wait for him or her to finish. Bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence. Do you know people like that? I do, unfortunately. And the astonishing part of it is that some of them are prominent. Bores, that is all they are - bores intoxicated with their own egos, drunk with the sense of their own importance. People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves. And those people who think only of themselves are hopelessly uneducated. They are not educated, no matter how instructed they may be.

[00:10:21] So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other people will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems. A person's toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people. A boil on one's neck interests one more than 40 earthquakes in Africa. Think about that the next time you start a conversation."

[00:11:08] Alright, my friend. Personally, I don't think this passage needs much summarizing, but I will reiterate the fact that attentive listening skills are a superpower that should never be underestimated. You might have been led to believe that talking about yourself and trying to make yourself look good was the way to make people like you. But I can tell you that it's really the exact opposite. If you don't believe me, just start paying more attention. Start listening to the conversations happening around you. Pay attention to what's actually being said. I think you'll realize that a lot of people aren't listening to each other at all. They're just on a marketing campaign trying to sell the world on the idea that they're cool, interesting, powerful, respected, beautiful, funny, different, or whatever bullshit. It's just "me, me, me. Me, me, me, me, me, me, me!" Right? What on earth could be more boring than that? If you want to have better conversations, be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

[END OF EPISODE]

Scroll to top