Summary of “How to Talk to Anyone”: Leil Lowndes reveals 92 techniques to help everyone master the art of communication and get the success they deserve in the private as well as the professional sphere.
By Leil Lowndes, 2013, 256 pages
Full title: How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships
Note: this is a guest article written by Bertrand Gaté from the blog Bien communiquer
Chronicle and Summary of How to Talk to Anyone
PART 1: You only have ten seconds to show you’re a somebody
When you meet someone for the first time, all you need are a few seconds to form an opinion about them. Caricaturists are a perfect example of this. They can spot the main personality traits of a person in a very short amount of time. They simply look at the person’s attitude, appearance, the way they move, etc. Your external appearance communicates the essence of who you are. Do not under-estimate this.
Do you want to project an image of yourself as someone intelligent, passionate and charismatic? Then the next 9 techniques are for you.
1. The flooding smile
To win people over, smiling is probably the one thing that every expert in communication recommends. And they are right. It works!
But it is subtle. Having a big warm smile is an advantage, but it is not instant. If you smile too quickly, you lose credibility. The next time you meet someone, pause for a moment. Soak in their persona. Then give them a big beautiful smile. But not before.
2. Sticky eyes
In conversation, looking at the other person not only makes them like you more, it also makes you look more intelligent. Few people are endowed with a strong capacity to focus completely on the other person.
Beware of the subtleties, however. Women and men are not equally sensitive to this. In general, a man will become more embarrassed if you look at him too intensely.
3. Epoxy eyes
Do you want to seduce the person of your dreams? In that case, your eyes are a powerful tool if you know how to use them. Basically, if there is a conversation with two people and you look at the one who is not talking, you send the following signal: “I’m interested in you.”
Studies  show that if you look at someone intensely, their heart rate increases and so does their level of phenylethylamine, which is a hormone that causes erotic excitement. The way you look at someone is a powerful aphrodisiac.
One Important Point: do not undress the other person with your eyes if you feel that there is no mutual attraction on their part. It could make things very awkward very quickly.
4. Hang by your teeth
The main indication of your success is your posture. Keep your head up, your shoulders back and your torso forward and you will exude self-assurance and confidence.
The difficult part is keeping this appearance up all the time. Here is an exercise in visualisation to help you. Whenever you cross the threshold to a room, picture a leather bit hanging from the door frame just a little higher than your head. Imagine yourself trying to catch the bit with your teeth. This helps your body adopt the perfect posture. If you do this exercise at every door, your new confident posture will soon become a habit.
5. The big-baby pivot
When you meet someone, give them your full attention, just the way you would give your attention to a 5-year old child. Face the other person, smile warmly and show them that they have your attention.
No matter the age of the other person, they will always want to capture the amount of attention they need to be reminded of how important they are.
6. Hello old friend
The best way to please a stranger is to imagine that they are an old friend you are delighted to bump into again. This is a powerful visualisation exercise for three reasons:
- Your non-verbal language will synchronise with your thoughts. This avoids sending any negative signs.
- You don’t need to speak. Simply imagine it and the other person will feel that you are a friendly person.
- When you act as if you like the other person, research  shows that you will genuinely begin to like them. This is a good example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
7. Limit the fidget
Our gestures are a reflection of our thoughts. A person who is fidgeting about sends a message that they are in the wrong place or they lack self-confidence. That is why you should avoid any parasite gestures in important situations, such as touching your face.
8. Han’s horse sense
Do you know the story of Hans, the intelligent horse? Hans was a mystery for a long time because he was able to solve complicated maths problems by tapping his hoof on the ground. After much investigation, the trick was revealed. The horse paid attention to the audience and reacted in relation to them. So he always detected when he got the answer right.
Become as observant as Hans the horse. During a conversation, remain attentive to all the non-verbal signs the other person is sending. Are they bored? Are they in a hurry? And are they convinced by what you are saying? Adopt your behaviour as a result.
9. Watch the scene before you make the scene
Like an athlete, you can visualise a situation before you actually experience it. Do you want to appear charismatic? Then picture yourself socialising with other people in a charismatic way. That way, you can condition your brain to genuinely behave in a charismatic way.
PART 2: What do I say after I say ‘Hello’?
Now you are going to discover the subtle art of futile small talk.
10. The mood match
Before you start the conversation, try to figure out the mood of the other person.. If they are full of energy, become enthusiastic. If they seem melancholy, adopt a calm tone, etc.
People who are at ease in social situations know how to adapt to the context. Without this synchronisation, the other person may not open up to you.
11. Prosaic with passion
Do you feel that you don’t have anything interesting to say to start a conversation? It doesn’t matter. In reality, you can talk about any subject at all. Sometimes the most important thing is not what you say, but how you say it.
There are two important points to remember:
- Don’t be disdainful of banal conversation topics. On the contrary, talk about them with passion and energy.
- There is one exception to the “talk about anything” rule – do not complain or be aggressive or unpleasant.
12. Always wear a Whatzit
Having a visible and unusual accessory to hand (a Whatzit) gives other people the opportunity to ask you questions about it. For example, if you wear socks that are two different colours, then you will attract the curiosity of other people who will strike up a conversation with you. Without this particularity, perhaps they would never have approached you.
The next technique is simple, but hardly ever used. It involves asking the host of the party to introduce you to a chosen person. Your host will generally be happy to do this. And if they don’t have time to introduce you, they can at least give you some information about your target.
14. Eavesdrop in
Don’t be afraid to listen from behind and step into a discussion with a standard phrase along the lines of: “Excuse me, I heard you talking about such and such a topic that I’m interested in. I was wondering if I could join you.” You may surprise the people in the group, but they’ll get over it.
15. Never the naked city
If you want to become an interesting person, you need to learn to communicate more than just the strict minimum. Typically, if you are asked where you come from, don’t just give the name of the town or city. Try to add some additional elements and if possible, adapt them to the person you are talking to. Without this, it may be difficult to come up with a topic of conversation.
For example: if you come from Manchester and you are chatting to someone with a passion for music, you can tell them about the various artists who came from Manchester and ask the other person if they are familiar with them. Obviously, you will have to come up with something else if the person is not a music lover (soccer, for example!).
16. Never the naked job
It is quite likely that someone will ask you “What do you do for a living?”. Not unlike the “Where do you come from?” question, you will want to give an answer that leads to other conversation. Try to describe your job and find something about it that the other person can connect to. Most of us don’t know much about other people’s professions, but we can take an interest if we feel a connection of some kind.
17. Never the naked introduction
When you introduce two people, don’t just say: “Deborah, I’d like to introduce you to Julian. Julian, this is Deborah.” When you do this, you leave them hanging. Instead, launch the discussion with some information about each of the people.
18. Be a word detective
Listen to the words the other person uses. They will give you information about their favourite topics. For example, if a person uses the word sport frequently, you can be confident that if you start a conversation on this topic, it will be a success.
19. The swivelling spotlight
Do you want someone to find you interesting? Then turn the spotlight onto the other person. If you do it well, they won’t even notice that you haven’t said a word about yourself.
When it’s your turn to speak, and you don’t know what to say, then simply repeat what the other person just said. For example: “I went to the cinema on Saturday night. – To the cinema? – Yes, it was the opening night of Christopher Nolan’s new film. – Christopher Nolan? – Yes, you know…”etc. What’s more, this is a sales technique that is often used to find out about potential customers’ wants and desires.
When two people meet for the first time and you want them to start talking, you can use the “Encore” technique. It consists of asking one of the people to repeat a story that they are proud of by saying “Tell them about the day you…” This highlights the person and starts an interesting discussion at the same time.
22. Ac-cen-tu-ate the pos-it-ive
When you meet someone for the first time, avoid talking about your weaknesses or past mistakes. While demonstrating vulnerability can be a powerful tool when it comes to building a relationship, it may not be the best approach in the very first moments of a relationship. Instead focus on the positive.
23. The latest news… Don’t leave home without it
You may find the following anecdote surprising: Sydney Biddle Barrow is the renowned owner of a successful escort agency. In one of her interviews, she explained that her ‘girls’ spent 60% of the time making conversation and 40% of the time satisfying other needs. In order to improve the “client experience”, she asked them to keep up with current affairs in order to be able to hold a conversation. The result? Her business took off and so did customer satisfaction. You too can read the news before heading to an event.
PART 3: How to talk like the big boys ‘n’ girls
24. What do you do – NOT
Resist the desire to ask the question “So, what do you do for a living?” There are a number of reasons why the other person may react negatively to this question:
- Perhaps they are not proud of their job or they simply don’t want to talk about it.
- You may appear to be self-interested and arrogant.
Instead ask this question: “How do you spend most of your time?”
25. The nutshell resume
If someone asks you what you do for a living, do not answer with the name of a profession, but what you offer society. For example, instead of saying “I’m a hairdresser”, say “I help women find the best hairstyle to suit their face.” When you present your job like this, you become more interesting and memorable.
26. Your personal thesaurus
One simple way to look smart is to use a broad vocabulary. You don’t have to swallow a dictionary: the frontier between a rich vocabulary and an ordinary one is around fifty words. That’s it.
Make a list of words that you tend to use and find synonyms for them. Then start to use them in conversation. You will see the difference.
27. Kill the quick “me too!”
When you discover something in common with the person you are talking to, resist the temptation to say “Me too!” Instead, allow the other person to speak and let them know that you share the same interest when they are finished talking. It shows that you know how to listen and that you are self-confident.
Do you want to capture the other person’s attention? Start your sentence with “you”. For example, instead of saying “Your dress is lovely”, say “You look lovely in that dress.” The person will appreciate your use of “you”.
29. The exclusive smile
A nice smile is a powerful thing. It will have even more impact if you adapt it to your audience. Personalise your smile. Make it exclusive to one person if necessary, but be careful not to turn it into an automatic smile. If you do, it will lose its charm.
30. Don’t touch a cliché with a 10-foot pole
When you get into a deeper conversation, be careful not to fall into well-worn ideas or clichés. In contrast, try to have genuinely thoughtful and personal ideas.
31. Use jawsmith’s jive
To become a funny and unforgettable person, work on how you put things across. Instead of using stock phrases, make up your own metaphors. For example, instead of saying “Happy as Larry”, say “Happy as a Swiss banker”. It is more surprising,
32. Call a spade a spade
Don’t be overly politically correct. Say things the way you see them without beating about the bush. It’s not a question of being vulgar, but about speaking frankly and with determination. You show that you are self-confident.
33. Trash the teasing
Laughing at someone else’s expense is a sign of mediocrity. Generally, the people affected will remember it for a long time.
34. It’s the receiver’s ball
In ancient Egypt, if a messenger brought bad news, the Pharaoh had his head cut off. While the consequences may not be quite as extreme these days, announcing bad news can still be tricky.
If you don’t want everyone to hate you, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes when you announce bad news. If your message is sad, be sad. And if your message is happy, be enthusiastic.
35. The broken record
If a person wants to ask you a difficult question and insists on finding out more despite your initial answer, then use the broken record technique. Repeat what you said the first time without changing your tone. Usually, the other person will get the message that you don’t want to say any more on the subject.
36. Big shots don’t slobber
Imagine meeting your favourite celebrity in the street. What do you do? The best thing is to do nothing and leave the person in peace.
However, if you absolutely want to speak to them, express a point of view and not a judgement about their work. For example, don’t say “Your last film was really good”, instead say “I really enjoyed watching your last film.” Secondly, highlight their most recent work and not the old stuff. People prefer to receive compliments about their current situation.
37. Never the naked thank you
To end a conversation in a good way, never simply say “Thank you”. It’s not enough. Give a reason for the thanks. Thank you for:
- waiting for me
- your confidence
- the lovely meal.
PART 4: What are they all talking about?
You have probably already found yourself in a conversation where you felt that you didn’t fit in: you know nothing about the topic, you don’t come from the same background, you don’t have the same qualifications… Whatever the reasons, you are now going to discover how to hold a conversation with anyone.
38. Scramble therapy
You don’t need to be an expert to be able to talk about a topic. Most of the time, a basic idea of a topic will give you 80% of the knowledge you require. For example: if you have been scuba diving once, then you know enough about the topic to hold a conversation.
Set yourself a mission: once a month, try something you have never done before. If you do this, your range of discussion topics will grow in no time.
39. Learn a little Gobbledygook
What is true for hobbies is also true for professional jargon. If you know the basics about a profession, you can ask the right questions and understand the “technical” aspects. If you have to meet with people who work in a different field to you, contact someone you know who knows something about this topic and ask for some pointers. That way, you get an idea about the job in question.
40. Baring their hot button
Every kind of job has favourite topics that the untrained know nothing about. If you want to shine at an event where everyone else is an expert, then find the subject that brings them to life. Once again, ask someone who is a connoisseur to give you a basic idea about the latest news and the issues facing the sector.
41. Read their rags
Are you going to meet someone who loves rock climbing? The best thing to do is read all the magazines, blogs and forums that specialise in this. No matter what the other person does, you can find resources to learn about it.
42. Clear ‘custom’
Never travel to a foreign country without finding out about their traditions and taboos. Some gestures that may seem insignificant to you could be extremely badly perceived in another culture.
43. Bluffing for bargains
When you negotiate with a supplier, one good technique is to pretend you know the ins and outs of the trade. Learn the jargon, contact several providers, understand what they have to do and them you can truly negotiate.
PART 5: Why, we’re just alike!
There is a study  that shows that people are more attracted by people who share the same values. There is something even more important: when you know that a person shares the same values you tend to like them better, even if you don’t know them. In this part of the book, we learn to create an impression of similarity with another person in order to build a more beneficial relationship.
44. Be a copycat
Depending on their culture and social background, people do not necessarily behave in the same way. To become a good communicator, learn to observe the attitude of the other person and synchronise with them. People feel more at ease with people who have the same codes.
It’s a very pleasant feeling when you are on the same wavelength as another person, right? To get there, one tip is to synchronise your vocabulary with that of the other person. For example, when they talk about their work, one person may talk about “my profession” and another about “my job”. What works in the professional sphere also works in the romantic sphere. Pay attention to the words the other person uses and match them.
46. Potent imaging
Depending on the person you are talking to and their interests, find analogies that speak to them. For example, if you have a client who likes to sail, present them with a strategy to help their company “hold water” or “stay afloat”. This will make sense to them. It will also give them the impression that you share the same interests.
47. Employ empathizers
When a person is listening, we tend to agree with them using small sounds of approval, such as “uh huh”. This is good, but if you really want to show that you are listening, then you can use actual sentences to show your understanding. “I see what you mean” or “Yes, that’s the right thing to do”, etc.
48. Anatomically correct empathizers
Listen to the other person and pay attention to the words they use. Does the way they express themselves correspond to a:
- Visual type “I see what you mean”;
- Sensitive type “I feel that this is bothering you”;
- Auditory type “I hear what you’re saying.”
Use the same terms in your replies.
49. The premature ‘we’
There are 4 stages in a conversation that show how intimate two people are:
- Clichés: two people who do not know each other will exchange pleasantries such as “What lovely weather we’re having”.
- Facts: two people who know each other without being close often talk in facts (“You know, Louis, this year we have had twice as many fine days as last year.”)
- Feelings and more personal questions: two friends exchange their impressions and feelings (“I love this weather! Are you someone who enjoys the sun?”).
- Using “we” instead of “I”. Two people who are close speak like this: “If the fine weather continues, it will be good for us. We will be able to go swimming together.”
The trick? It consists of moving directly to stages 3 and 4 when you meet a new person. You can use the same verbal signals as good friends.
50. Instant history
To create a bond with an acquaintance, bring up good memories of something you shared when you first met. Then turn those memories into references that you can use regularly.
PART 6: The power of praise, the folly of flattery
Complimenting someone can be a tricky business. It is simultaneously an incredible way to create a bond, but you can also come out looking like a hypocrite or boot licker. In this part, you will discover 9 ways to give someone subtle compliments.
51. Grapevine glory
When you compliment someone to their face, it can simply look like an attempt to flatter. Instead, use the power of word of mouth. If you want to compliment someone, tell the people they are close to positive things you want the person to hear. There is a good chance that the message will reach the person in question.
52. Carrier pigeon kudos
Unfortunately, people have a tendency to gossip amongst themselves. What about trying to pass on good news instead? The next time you hear something good said about another person, go and tell them. It will not fail to please and the person will like you even better.
53. Implied magnificence
It tends to go down extremely well if you imply something positive about the person you are speaking to. It has the same effect as a direct compliment. Here is an example: instead of saying “You look great”, say “How are you doing today?” – Moment of observation – “Well, you’re clearly doing great.”
54. Accidental adulation
One good tip involves complimenting the other person as if you did not mean to do it. For example, you can say to your friend: “You know about wine, so you probably wouldn’t have ordered this bottle, but I just picked the wine randomly”. Simple, yet effective.
55. The killer compliment
A killer compliment is characterised by being singular or specific in nature. Let me explain. If you tell someone they are nice, it’s not specific. If you tell someone you like their shirt, it’s not personal enough. That is why you need to find the other person’s unique quality and tell them.
There are two rules you need to obey when it comes to this: not only should you give the compliment in private (at the risk of making things awkward), you also need to make it credible. If you compliment someone on their voice when they are not a good singer, it’s not going to work.
56. Little strokes
When someone does something good, don’t be afraid to tell them so, using small compliments: Good job! Well played! Not bad at all!
The advantage is that it will please them without making you look like a boot licker.
57. The knee-jerk “Wowl”
The art of complimenting someone is also a question of timing. It can go down badly if it comes too late or too early. When someone has just accomplished something, tell them immediately what you think. Don’t wait until two days later.
When you receive a compliment, how you respond is important. DO NOT SAY: “Oh no, it’s nothing”; “Thank you (timid and low); “Oh, I don’t really like it”;
Instead use the boomerang technique. In other words, send the compliment back to the person who gave it. Here is an example: “You’ve really done a great job on this project. – Oh, it’s very kind of you to say so. I appreciate your positive feedback.”
If you don’t know what to say, then go for the following cookie-cutter reply: “That’s very kind of you.”
59. The tombstone game
If you know the person well, ask them what they would like to have written on their tombstone. Why ask this weird question? Because the answer will tell you how the other person would like to be remembered. Some examples of an epitaph are:
- Here lies Hugh D. He was a genius.
- Here lies Justine L., who spread joy everywhere she went.
Did the other person answer you? Keep it in your mind and wait for the right moment to compliment them about the way they would like to be seen. Your compliment will go straight to their heart.
PART 7: Direct dial their hearts
Telephone communication is different to face-to-face communication in many ways. In this part, you will learn about the subtle differences to make people like you long distance.
60. Talking gestures
When you are on the phone, it is not easy to transmit your energy and your true self. In contrast to an in-person encounter, the other person has no feedback about your body language. Your goal therefore, is to verbally describe what you are feeling. If you are surprised, say “No way!” To replace a smile, say “Now that’s funny.”
Exaggerate your expressions so that your words replace your gestures.
61. Name shower
Eyes have the power to connect people as part of a conversation. Remotely, the best trick to replace eye contact is to use the other person’s first name. Don’t be afraid to use the person’s name on the phone.
62. Oh wow, it’s you!
Now you are going to discover a two-step method to answer the phone. It works for people you know and it works for strangers too. Ready? Start by greeting the person on the phone in a professional yet warm manner. Don’t let your smile shine through your voice just yet. Once the person has introduced themselves, act in this way: “Oh, it’s you! “and raise your energy level.
You give the impression that you are always happy to hear from them.
63. The sneaky screen
Perhaps your company gets a lot of calls and you are forced to screen them. Instead of asking cold and intimidating questions (“Who’s calling? Which company? What is it about?), here is an elegant way for receptionists to take calls. “Yes, I’ll put you through right away. Who can I say is calling? …Perfect, just a moment… I’m sorry, but Mr/Ms X just went out to lunch. Perhaps I can take a message.” By answering like this, the person won’t take the rejection personally. It is more subtle than saying “Unfortunately, so-and-so doesn’t have time to take your call today.”
64. Salute the spouse
When you are trying to reach someone and you get the receptionists every time, try to get to know the person on the other end of the line. They are a human being, with a name, feelings, a life. Sometimes that person has as much, or even more power than your target. Do not neglect that.
65. What colour is your time?
If you call someone at the wrong moment, there is not much hope you will achieve your aim. That is why you should always check if the person is free when you call. “Hi Charles, do you have a minute?” If the answer is no, don’t insist. There’s no point.
66. Constantly changing outgoing message
Do you want to project an image of yourself as someone professional and serious-minded? Then make your voice message neutral, short and pleasant. No need for extravagance and originality. Small secret bonus: change your message as often as possible to keep up with your current situation.
67. Your 10-second audition
This time, imagine that it is your turn to reach someone’s voice mail. What is your goal? You want the other person to call you back as soon as they can. To do this, there are three rules to obey:
- Speak in a clear, dynamic and confident voice.
- Be brief: not more than 10 seconds.
- Sell your message. Do not leave it at just “Hi, it’s Michael, call me back.” Say: “Hi Andrew, I’ve got some big news to tell you about our project.”
68. The ho-hum caper
To get through the receptionist screen, act like you are in the habit of talking to your target person. For example: “Is she in her office?” By using a familiar “she”, you give the impression that you and the boss go back a long way.
69. ‘I hear your other line’
If you hear some background noise on the line, show the other person that you can take this into account. For example, if you hear a baby crying in the background, suggest calling back later so that they can take care of the child. It shows that you are paying attention and that is always appreciated.
70. Instant replay
To improve in a particular field, you often need to get feedback about your performance. That is exactly what you should do on the phone. Record your conversations and play them back several times: you will be able to appreciate some subtle things that you may not have noticed. What’s more, it helps you read between the lines, which is not always easy in the heat of the moment.
PART 8: How to work a party like a politician works a room
In this part, you will learn the tips you need to optimise your presence at a networking event.
71. Munching or mingling
If you want other guests to come and talk to you, avoid nibbling during the event. Eat before.
There are two reasons for this:
- When your mouth is full and you have a glass in your hand, it is always harder to socialise.
- People will be less inclined to come over to you if you are eating. They will be afraid to bother you.
72. Rubberneck the room
When you enter a room, take a moment to look around you, like a lion surveying the savannah from his rock. The goal is not to be noticed, but to gauge the room: who is talking to whom? What is the atmosphere like? Where are the important people?
73. Be the chooser, not the choosee
Get into the habit of going towards people instead of letting them come to you. Perhaps one day you will meet the love of your life. When that day comes, you need to be able to go up and talk to them. Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare.
74. Come-hither hands
Your body language can act like a magnet, or if it can push people away. Be sure to emit the right signals. For example, people are attracted when someone has an open posture. Let your arms hang down, turned outwards. Smile gently and stand up straight.
Do you want to make an incredible impression on an acquaintance? Show them that you remember the small details. You don’t have to remember their life story. A few details are sufficient, such as remembering their first name. Don’t be afraid to take notes about people and file them away. Roll the details out when you next meet them as if this is the most natural thing in the world.
76. The business card dossier
This is a variant on the previous tip.
Just after speaking to a new acquaintance, go somewhere private and write a detail about the person on the back of their business card. Next time you meet them, produce the reference in question.
77. Eyeball selling
Try to decipher non-verbal signals from the other person and adapt your pitch in accordance with them. The mistake is to be too focussed on your own words without paying attention to their reactions.
PART 9: Little tricks of big winners
The goal of the last part of the book is to teach you the subtle communication techniques you need to reach the top of the ladder.
78. See no bloopers, hear no bloopers
Become oblivious to any bloopers you may hear around you. For example, picture yourself at a meeting with your colleagues and one of them knocks over a glass of water. The right reaction is to carry on as if nothing has happened. If you do this, you show that you are unflappable and you know how to focus on what is truly important.
79. Lend a helping tongue
Perhaps you have already witnessed this kind of scene: a person is talking to a group and everything is going well. Suddenly, someone comes into the room making a lot of noise. What is the consequence? People stop listening, they turn around to look at the new arrival, they start to talk… At that moment, the speaker is in a delicate situation. They have to make fresh efforts to capture everyone’s attention.
The next time you find yourself in this kind of situation, wait until the hubbub calms down and return attention to the speaker saying: “So, what happened next, when…”. In doing so, you give the speaker a helping hand.
80. Bare the buried WIIFM
When you ask another person to do you an important favour, be transparent about what’s in it for you. Do not pretend that it is an unimportant request.
This does not prevent you from showing the advantages of the request for the other person, but be honest.
81. Let ‘em savour the favour
If a person accepts to do you a favour, wait for several hours between the moment they accept to help you and the moment they actually perform the favour. If you are hasty, it may look bad.
82. Tit for (wait…wait) tat
If a person owes you a favour because you have already done something for them, do not make the mistake of wanting them to “pay back” the favour too quickly. For example: you helped someone find a job and now they want to return the favour when the opportunity arises. So far, so good. The mistake is if you call the person three days later and ask them to return the favour. It’s too soon. It highlights the “tit for tat” nature of the situation and spoils the feelings of generosity.
83. Parties are for pratter
There is a time for everything. Avoid confrontation and difficult discussions in festive settings. Good communicators know how to put the conflict off until a better time.
84. Dinner’s for dining
When you get to the top, there is a sacred moment that must be observed – mealtimes. This is a time for discussing all sorts of things, but not for criticism or controversy. Call a special meeting for these topics.
85. Chance encounters are for chitchat
When you are talking business with someone, do not count on a chance encounter. For example: picture yourself in the grocery store, bumping into a client you have been negotiating with for weeks. Do not make the mistake of bringing up work. Ever. Once again, there is a time for everything.
86. Empty their tanks
If you want to ask someone for information, first let them tell you what they want to tell you. When someone wants to get something off their chest, not allowing them to do so is a mistake. That is why you must learn to be patient, and then talk.
87. Echo the EMO
How do you react when someone is yelling at you? Do not escalate. Instead, here is something you can do:
- Listen to them.
- Ask for clarification.
- Put words to their emotions to show that you understand what they are feeling.
This is the only way to calm the other person down.
88. My goof, your gain
If you make a faux-pas, the best way to recover is to make sure that your victim’s overall impression remains positive. For example: if you break a vase when visiting someone’s house, don’t just buy the same vase to replace it. Buy one that is ten times more expensive. The person will like you even more.
89. Leave an escape hatch
If you surprise someone in a lie, or in the process of stealing or covering something up, do not confront them. A noble attitude consists of helping the other person save face. Why? If you do this, it is as if you are saying: “Your case does not even deserve my attention”.
90. Buttercups for their boss
Do you know an employee who is doing an excellent job and deserves recognition from their management? If so, send a sincere message to their managers to tell them how much you appreciate their services. Not only do you promote the work of a person who is doing a good job, you also become a VIP client for the company. The employee in question will roll out the red carpet for you next time you visit.
91. Lead the listeners
When you attend a presentation, always be the first person to applaud the speaker. Why? When you act like this, you show two things about your personality:
- You know what it’s like to be in the spotlight.
- And you are not afraid to take the lead.
You can be sure that the speaker will always notice the people who clap first and they will like you all the better for it.
92. The great scorecard in the sky
Try to imagine that there is an invisible score on every person’s head. It’s a simple game: the player with the lowest score has to make an effort to stand out. If this rule is broken, then the relationship is probably not meant to last.
Conclusion about “How to Talk to Anyone”
I find “How to Talk to Anyone” to be an excellent book about communication. It offers the tools you need to:
- Make other people like you even if they don’t know you.
- Give an impression that you are comfortable in every situation.
- Have rich and interesting conversations.
- Communicate better on the phone and remotely in general.
- Make the most of networking events.
- Understand what needs to be done to reach the highest echelons.
Among the 92 techniques in the book, you are sure to find some that apply to your own situation and your personality. For that alone, the book is worth its weight in gold.
For example, just after I read this book, I began to apply technique no. 62. It consists of answering the phone in a neutral way, and then becoming enthusiastic after the person introduces themselves. It was at a time when I had applied to several different job positions. I was getting a lot of calls from unknown numbers. So I tried the technique to see the result and it worked a treat. It was a great way to make a good impression on the phone. To my knowledge, you won’t find this kind of advice anywhere else.
That is why I strongly recommend reading this book. It will allow you to implement concrete actions to communicate better immediately after reading it. Finally, this book will be of benefit even if you have already read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Leil Lowndes successfully adds extra value by explaining not only what you have to do, but how to do it.
Strong points of the book How to Talk to Anyone
- Quick and easy to read.
- Every technique comes with an example to help understand the subtleties.
- It is a book about action: it focuses on “how to do” rather than “what to do”.
- The book adds value even if you are already familiar with the best-seller “ How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
Weak points of the book How to Talk to Anyone
- Do not expect a story line. The book is like a toolbox, not a story.
- Not all of the techniques will be suitable for everyone. Some of them may appear to be manipulative and others impossible to apply.
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