Here’s the secret of popular people: They say interesting things and they’re interested in what others say.
This isn’t as hard as it sounds. You just need to know when to speak and when to listen.
Most of us do not monitor our speak-listen ratio. We have no idea whether we talk too much. We simply say what’s on our mind as soon as we can.
To become more popular, limit what you say. Give succinct but captivating statements and observations. Cite relevant facts that build on others’ comments or politely challenge their opinions by posing alternate explanations.
Share personal experience only if you’re sure others want to hear it—and the anecdote helps you drill home a point. Ideally, your stories should evoke emotion. You want listeners to laugh or cringe or share your emotional roller coaster as they follow along.
Showing interest in others doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It takes work. But by devoting at least half of the conversation to listening, you ensure an even flow of dialogue.
If your goal is to persuade someone, then strive to listen for as much as 80 percent of the conversation. Use your 20 percent to make enticing promises, stoke the other person’s self-interest and ask questions. Top salespeople tend to adopt this 80/20 ratio.
Fight off boredom when others raise topics that you initially label as dull. Bear down and activate your curiosity. Being interested means withholding judgment about a subject—and listening with patience so that you’re able to learn along the way.