When most of us talk to each other, unless we’re really comfortable with the person we’re speaking with, there’s always a fear, however sleight, of that uncomfortable pause.
Nobody likes that. If you’ve ever been on a first date, and you found it hard to keep the conversation flowing, this can be deadly.
The good news is that there’s an easy way around this. A simple method that will not only get rid of those uncomfortable pauses forever, but you’ll also significantly improve your listening skills, making you the most sought after conversationalist around.
There’s an old story of Dale Carnegie, who talked to a woman who had just returned from Africa. All Carnegie did was ask simple questions, follow up questions and expressed his appreciation for what she was saying. The lady did most of the talking.
Later on, the woman he was speaking to couldn’t stop telling people what am amazing conversationalist that Carnegie character was.
His secret? Listening skills.
Most of us like talking about ourselves. The problem is that when you’ve got two people talking to each other, who like talking about themselves, they try and “outdo” each other.
But when you develop Meta Model based listening skills, people will be drawn to you like moths to a flame.
The first step is to simply become interested in the other person. If you don’t have any interest to start with, become curious about the other person. Try to imagine what they may know, or what their experiences are that you may find interesting.
Once the conversation has started, simply listen to what they are saying. Get out of your own head. The more you focus on what they are saying, the less you’ll worry about those potential pauses, and paradoxically, the easier the conversation will flow.
Meta Model Listening Skills
The meta model comes in whenever you hear any amount of “vagueness” when you’re listing to them. What is the meta model? Simply stated, it’s any question that aims to get more specific.
They say they like pasta, you ask questions like,
“What kind pasta?”
They say they’re studying to become a doctor, you ask questions like,
“What kind of doctor?”
“What medical school do you plan on going to?”
“How did you decide that?”
As you may be starting to realize, the meta model is largely based on the “Wh-” questions.
It’s crucial that you ask these without any kind of “interrogation” or ulterior motive to somehow “show up” the other person.
Ask them out of a genuine interest in what they are saying. Follow conversation threads based on their interest, and your interest.
This will make for a winning and magnetic conversation.
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