We've all done it. We've nodded our heads in agreement while our girlfriend, parents, or even significant other is speaking. Half the time, we're going through our wardrobe to figure out what we're to wearing tomorrow night. If you have a hot date, you’re rearranging your schedule so you have time to get an outfit that will leave your crush drooling.
You're not actively listening. Most recently, I finished this incredible book called How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. If you haven't read it, get it today.
What was most surprising to me is that the author talks about the simplest ways to influence people. It's really not rocket science. What I realized that it all boils down to being a genuinely good person.
Carnegie said something that struck a chord in my psyche. He told a story about a man who was just going on and on. At the end of the conversation, the man paid him a compliment that he was the best conversationalist he'd ever met. Carnegie barely said five words during the whole interaction. The lesson is "To be interesting, be interested."
As a dating coach, I am constantly trying to find out why a person is struggling to find a relationship. Sometimes it's a psychological problem that needs work, or it's simply the person does not know how to listen.
Women are the biggest proponents of talking about ourselves. We love to be complimented and have our ego boosted. Most of the time this happens when we are searching for compliments on what we are saying. We are looking for opportunities in the conversation to interject how amazing we are instead of listening.
Switch up your poor listening to active listening
In any of our relationships, you will benefit from actively listening. Imagine having a conversation with a crush. You begin asking questions. Getting to know you questions like ‘what did you do this past weekend?' or ‘what do you do in your free time?' Your crush then begins to go and on about a particular hobby. You, as an active listener, create interest by asking him more about this hobby he can't stop talking about. You have now created interest. He really feels like you're listening to him. Then you'll get the infamous line, "You're different than other women." And you're in!
Business conversations happen the same way. Imagine being on an interview. Most of the time, you’re doing all of the talking. When it’s time for you to ask questions (you should ALWAYS ask questions at an interview), it's your time to shine. Start listening intently for cues. You never know when the interviewer will give you a tidbit of information that will allow you to elaborate on the conversation. Listening shows you are invested in the interview and you are guaranteed to be in the running for the position.
Being a great conversationalist is simple
When I first started the book, I sincerely thought I was going to learn complex tactics to influence people. But in the end, I learned that being genuine, remembering someone's name, actively listening, and remembering small details will put you ahead of the rest.
Filling empty silence is a nervous habit. People speak to avoid dead air, so they aren't alone with their thoughts which in some cases are downright disturbing. That's partially why we can't get away from our phones for two minutes. The act of not doing anything is uncomfortable especially for those who are addicted to technology. You know who you are. Put your phone down and listen to your date.
Going above and beyond to influence people and make friends is as simple as being a great active listener. Try it for a day and notice the difference in how people treat you.
About Valerie Rivera
I am a dating and relationship coach, podcaster, and blogger for ValsBytes.com based out of Orlando, Florida who is in love with falling in love. I feel my calling in the world is to help those get through the tough times and to celebrate the wins. All with a hint of positivity. My content is dating, and relationship related ranging from getting into the dating world to balancing your marriage when you are attacked with outside distractions.
I am currently married and a dog mom to an American Bulldog named Rosco.