Practical tips on how to become a master at conversation. Avoid awkward silences where no one knows what to say because now you will have tools to guide the conversation! Being good at having meaningful conversations will enable you to have deeper connections with others.
(One video will post per day until the full episode is included in this playlist)
Related Articles and Other Notes
- How to Go on a Happiness Walk (Article)
- Our music is made possible by Kevin MacLeod under a creative commons license.
[00:00:00] Intro Sequence
[00:03:15] Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Aspire Healthy Living Podcast! I'm trying out a new filming location today. You might notice the surroundings look a little bit different on the video version. This is going to kind of be the sunrise addition. So right now it's immediately pre sunrise. I think the sun is actually going to rise during during this episode, so I thought that that would make an interesting timing as far as the video version of this podcast.
[00:03:47] Now, for all the previous episodes I had filmed in one of two locations: either inside of my house primarily in my bedroom / office. When I was filming in the house, I was feeling like I wasn't able to fully express my true voice because there was another person in the house who's either sleeping or is wanting me to do other things other than the podcast when I'm working on the podcast and so I feel kind of this need to sort of not hide what I'm doing but I don't want to throw it in his face that I'm working on the podcast, basically. And so my proposed solution or something that I had tried was I went and filmed outside a number of different times and I think that you'll agree from some of the previous versions that had an impact on the audio quality especially this time of year there's a lot of crickets in the background. So I thought about filming outside this morning but I really wanted the audio quality to be very high for you all.
[00:04:51] I had some ideas about maybe experimenting with different microphones or whatever but I wanted to err on the side of having a really good audio quality. So my solution, which I just thought of a minute ago, is to sit in the back of my car and use my car as like a sound booth / recording studio booth. So so far my impressions are it's a little bit cramped. The background on the video version is probably not as cool as some of the backgrounds on my on my future and past videos but as far as the sound environment it is doing a great job of sound sealing. I can not hear the crickets outside at all and we'll have to see when I'm in the post-production on this episode how the reverb is from being in such a small environment. But overall I'm pretty excited.
[00:05:45] So let's go ahead and hop into the episode. Today we're going to be talking about what I'm titling social skills for introverts and I kind of get that phrase from my parents because they always say they're introverts with social skills. But for me, for those who know me you know you will recognize this is true but, I am highly, highly introverted. I need a large amount of time by myself to recharge and in a personality test when I was doing like the Myers-Briggs, I tested as the most introverted out of all the different personality types they had on there. So for me, this has always been a growth area. People have told me sometimes like oh you're pretty good in social situations or whatever.
[00:06:33] But inside my mind I've never been super comfortable in social situations and I would say at this point it's my major area for improvement in terms of: I'm taking care of myself very well physically both in terms of eating well and exercising and meditating consistently. I'm self exploring. I'm self-actualizing in that I'm pursuing my life mission. But honestly I'm not meeting quite as many people as I would like. I haven't made very many friends since I moved to Atlanta and that's primarily because I have not put myself out there into social situations because social situations make me uncomfortable. So that kind of leads me into the first thing that I wanted to get into, which is: why are people shy in the first place?
[00:07:22] And by the way, before we get into that, I think that this episode will be really useful for extroverts as well to help deepen the interaction that you're already having with other people.For the introverts, we're primarily going to focus on having an interaction in the first place and practicing. Anyway, so why are people shy?
[00:07:44] I think that there's two reasons why people are shy and the first is what I call the "Circle of Introversion," which is basically like this: Introvert gets into a social situation that is socially awkward. They have not really developed the skill of being able to smoothly have a conversation with anyone. So they ask bad questions. They may be asked boring questions or questions which are just not going to... I didn't mean to characterize it as good or bad but... questions which are not going to be optimally conducive to a good conversation.
[00:08:23] So we'll just call that bad questions for lack of a better word. So the introvert is not highly trained in his or her mind to ask good questions and so they ask bad questions. And what does that produce? That produces boring answers. So just from my own past, you know, I'll walk up to somebody and I don't seem to have anything in common with this person.
[00:08:47] "Oh what do you do?" And then they proceed to tell me about their boring job for 10 minutes that I do not give a crap about. And then what is the effect of that? The effect of that is that then you have a boring conversation. And so for a lot of introverts, or at least for me and I'm assuming that this happens for other people, a lot of times in the past I've had conversations and I'm like dang this is a boring conversation! I'd rather just be by myself because like these people are boring. Nothing about these other people is interesting. I mean it's kind of judgmental when I when I articulate it like that but the reality is if I'm having boring social interactions that is creating a negative reinforcement that is not encouraging me to go have more social interactions.
[00:09:35] So the introvert is asking bad questions and is therefore getting boring answers and is therefore having a suboptimal social experience. And that's basically negatively reinforcing the situation because the introvert says "Well, when I go out and I try and interact with people, I have crappy interactions with people so why should I go out at all? Why don't I just stay home?" So it creates a negative feedback cycle where if you don't know what you're doing that's creating a negative reinforcement which encourages you to continue not putting yourselves in situations which will encourage you to develop your social acumen.
[00:10:15] And then the second reason is social anxiety. And of course this really varies based on the situation. But I think a lot of people, especially shy people, are going to identify with the fact that it can feel very uncomfortable in social situations. It can feel like a lot of people are looking at you and potentially maybe they're judging you. It's hard to really tell based on the situation.
[00:10:40] And my first kind of flippant flippant answer to that is:"That's why people drink!" and I'm not I'm not encouraging you to drink as a social lubricant. I'm just saying that if you go to a party or a bar or a social gathering of any kind, just look around and see how many people are drinking. And I would say that's a rough estimate of how how many people in the room are feeling socially anxious themselves.
[00:11:07] So if you look around and you notice oh 95 percent of these people are drinking, maybe that will remind you: "Well, hey, everybody is feeling a little bit socially awkward and that's just something we're going to have to deal with because it's a social situation.
[00:11:23] And then another thing to keep in mind is that people care about themselves way more than they care about you. So you walk into a room and everybody momentarily glances at you but that's the part of their brain that's in charge of threat detection.
[00:11:41] So that's subconsciously they're looking at you to make sure you're not like a lion who's going to kill them and then they're going to go back to basically ignoring you. So yes it is possible for people to pick on you in a social interaction but the majority of the social interaction in my opinion or the social anxiety is going to be derived from the fact that you're assuming other people are judging you or you think other people are thinking negative thoughts about you.
[00:12:12] And that's really not productive but those are those are basically why I think people are shy in the first place because they're participating in this negative reinforcement pattern and because they have social anxiety.On the social anxiety, I think the best way to deal with that is just to remember that hey everybody has social anxiety and you realize that you're really building up a problem in your mind that's bigger than actually exists in reality.
[00:12:40] OK, so that's why people are shy and when you when you think about that negative reinforcement loop I was talking about the beginning of the negative reinforcement loop is the fact that the introvert has not honed their social skills. If they were at 100 percent and firing on all cylinders and well-practiced with social skills, they would be asking better questions they would be easier at creating a situation which was automatically socially lubricated because remember the other person is going to want to be having a conversation with you as well. Nobody likes the awkward like conversation dies because nobody knows what to say. That's that's a sub optimal outcome for everyone. So the other person is going to be wanting to be encouraging the conversation. Now they may be an introvert as well. They may have less developed social skills, in which case they may not have the tools to socially lubricate and that's how you get those conversations that go nowhere that just die. Because if each side does not have the tools to have a good conversation, then that's lacking.
[00:13:51] So let's get into what some of those tools are or I guess the reason I wanted to make an episode about this right now, aside from the fact that I thought it would be highly practical, is I've been doing a lot of research on this for me because I feel like if I just have some basic tools and some basic go-to approaches in terms of how to make good conversations with people, then I will feel much more comfortable being in conversations with people because I will have a basic template that I know that I can pursue.
[00:14:23] And that kind of gets into: the first thing that I have learned which I think is a useful tidbit is that you want to have a goal. Before, my goal was kind of like okay well I find myself in a social situation and it's not socially appropriate to extract myself from that social situation immediately. So my goal is to just make conversation and not be socially awkward.
[00:14:54] I would say that was my default goal before this research. Now I would say the goal is to... let me get the exact wording because I wrote it down...
[00:15:05] You want to learn other people's stories. Everybody has a story and not just one story but many, many stories whether they're a janitor or whether they're the king of the world. [11.0]
[00:15:17] So that provides a very actionable goal in social interactions because you already know that the other person has stories and the other person has interesting stories. It's just a question of how do you get at those interesting stories and how do you how do you get the other person to feel comfortable and reminded of specific stories basically where they can share their truth. Because people like talking about themselves and also people can tell whether you're interested or not.
[00:15:48] So this goes back to the questions. If you're asking interesting questions, you're going to get interesting answers and then you're actually going to be interested in the conversation. And people can tell whether you're just yes'ing them or whether you actually want to be engaged in the conversation. It's very there's a very noticeable difference.
[00:16:10] So your goal is going to be to learn other people's stories. And so you can think to yourself just a simple question: "How can I get this person to tell me their story?" and that will set up a framework from which you can create your own questions on the fly because the thing about conversations and the reason why they're a little bit daunting for introverts sometimes is because human interactions are so complex they cannot be planned in advance so you cannot you cannot say I'm going to go into this conversation and I'm going to ask this 10 question sequence.
[00:16:43] It's more like: "I'm going to go into this conversation and we're going to sort of improv this interaction together but I'm going to come at it from this general approach which is that I'm trying to learn people's stories."
[00:16:55] I'm trying to get them comfortable enough to tell their stories and to be interested enough. People don't share their stories if they don't feel like the other person is listening or basically you're trying to create an environment that's conducive to people telling their stories and you want to be able to tell your stories also because that is that is your story to yourself about who you are.
[00:17:22] And so people are in a constant... not constant but... there's a desire on people's part to tell their stories. So [00:17:31] not only are you trying to elicit stories from other people, you're looking for an opportunity to tell your own stories to other people. And in the process of so doing you're telling your stories to yourself and kind of constructing your identity. [11.3]
[00:17:44] So now let's get into some of the specific tools like "Yeah this is this is great and all but let's get into some of the specific tools. Actually, sorry, backing up before we get to that. So I they talk about specific tools what I'm going to get into is more like specific lines of questioning / specific topics.
[00:18:03] But before I get into that, I want to say the vibe is very, very important. The the general kind of energy that you're throwing out is very important. I've been guilty of this in the past when I was sometimes put in social situations that I did not want to be in like a bunch of people got invited over to my house and nobody asked me.
[00:18:29] They just they just showed up at my house and at the time I could not help but respond, or, I felt like of course in retrospect I know I did have a choice but I felt like I had no response except to basically be grumpy about the situation because it's like "Oh, nobody asked me and I'm thrown into this social situation that I don't want to be in." The point is you throw out a very negative energy when you do that. People can tell when you're grumpy and put upon because they're there versus excited that they're there.
[00:19:02] And in general people like positive energy versus negative energy. Positive vibe is key and and a big part of the positive vibe is smiling and everybody knows this. But what I realized is like yeah at the same time like it's it has been pretty easy for me in the past to kind of have a little bit of a dour look in terms of crossed arm closed off body language and not smiling very much because I was so I was feeling so socially awkward.
[00:19:38] So the smile is absolutely key. And if you've watched any videos on how to smile it's basically like there's two different types of smiles. There's a smile that's just with your mouth and that's the fake smile. Basically when you just smile with your mouth that's your brain saying "Oh, it would be socially appropriate to smile right now. I should fake a smile." People can absolutely tell that you're faking your smile.
[00:20:07] And that is not nearly as good of a social lubricant versus a really radiant, true smile. That is one of the best social lubricants because it makes people feel like oh this person is safe, this person is comfortable, this person is not some seething cauldron of negativity that is going to be a disaster to talk to them. So a big genuine smile is absolutely crucial and I've been giving a lot of thought to this... oh and i forgot to say a genuine smile is basically smizing. What is smizing? Smizing is smiling with your eyes. In a fake smile, you just smile with your mouth. True smizing smile you smile with your mouth and then your eyes crinkle and that is what that is what a real true joyous smile looks like.
[00:21:03] So from my experience it is very difficult to smile, to do a true smile on command, or to just learn how to just kind of turn it on. Maybe some extremely extroverted people can do that but for me I have not yet built up the skill of just walking into a room and having a beaming radiant smile.
[00:21:29] But I have noticed that I can train myself every time I meet somebody new to smile and wave to them and then when you do that, that is your natural reaction when you first interact with anyone. And a smile and a wave is basically going to be a social lubricant in any social situation even if it's just walking by somebody on the street.
[00:21:57] And therefore you can automatically create this trigger where its much easier to smile. So I've been doing some exercises to encourage myself to do that and I will get into those exercises in a second but I'm starting to notice that I am cultivating an automatic reaction of: see new person, before you even think about it smile and wave to them, and make it a big genuine smile.
[00:22:20] And over time the smile is becoming more and more genuine and in general I would say, as long as they're paying attention, people smile and wave back. And now you're already in a social social interaction even though you haven't had any conversation.
[00:22:34] You have acknowledged each other. Which is really, by the way, from what I found, one of the key secrets to likeability. If you're in an office... I used to work at an office where there were maybe 125 people and merely the act of (I was going to say smiling and waving but ) basically the act of acknowledging somebody consistently like every time you walk by somebody saying hello and acknowledging them instead of being buried in work in your mind. That's pretty much all that's required to get people to like you. That's pretty much all that's required to be likable and then don't be a tidal wave of negativity.
[00:23:16] But if you do that in general people will like you so just remember when you're when you're deep in social anxiety: people want to like you. People don't enjoy not liking somebody, it's more like there's a specific trigger that causes somebody to not like somebody.
[00:23:33] But back to the smiling, so how do we encourage a good smile? I've been doing what I call a happiness walk and I'll try and write an article about that this week but what a happiness walk is I take the dogs for a walk every morning for 30 minutes to an hour and usually I am not listening to anything on headphones although sometimes I do listen to stuff on headphones but it's pretty early in the day before it gets hot. I take the dogs on a walk and since I live in suburbia there are a number of cars that drive by maybe two cars every three blocks.
[00:24:15] So it's not a major major street. It's a residential area but you know while I'm walking the dogs during the morning busy time there are a decent number of cars that drive by.
[00:24:29] So what happens is every time a car drives by I smile and wave and again what I'm doing is I'm cultivating my automatic response to a new person on the social scene to be acknowledgement and responding in a really open and friendly way.
[00:24:54] And what I've observed from doing this for a while now is, yes, it has been very productive in making me just open to social interactions in general between the happiness walk in the mornings and the meditating. I'm finding that I'm just automatically starting conversations with just random people. I'm just getting into normal small talk conversations a lot more than I used to.
[00:25:22] And I think that that's primarily because I am training myself to automatically engage as opposed to automatically stay in my mind because if you're in your mind and you think about it for a few minutes and you're like "Oh should I go talk to this person?" then you don't end up talking to this other person but if you're talking to this other person before you even realize that then you're in a conversation. And then we can use additional social skills from there.
[00:25:49] So that's the happiness walk. A couple of other things about the happiness walk. Basically when I smile and wave to somebody, I try and remember to wish them well in the sense of I try and think "Oh, I hope that person has an awesome day!" And I think I've mentioned this in previous podcast but you can basically use other people as a mirror that bounces energy off of them. So if I go on a happiness walk and in my mind I'm basically wishing you know a sequence of 10 different people: "That person have an awesome day! That person have an awesome day!" It makes you feel good even setting aside the other person's reaction. It primes you for positivity because you're thinking "a good day for this person" and a "good day for this person" and it sort of implies "and good day for me also." Then what you'll notice is a lot of people smile and wave back and so it's like I smile and wave at some lady in a minivan and she smiles and waves back and like that feels good.
[00:26:51] That's like a little jolt of positivity. I didn't have to invest more than half a second in the social interaction so it's not draining me as an introvert. But it's kind of giving me this charge of positive energy at the beginning of the day and it's like OK well five to 10 people per morning smile and wave back and that's five to 10 people more than would have smiled and waved at me had I not been engaging in this happiness walk. So it's acknowledging people. It's sending a little bit of positivity their way. A lot of times they send positivity back to you. Most of them at least wave and the majority of them are smiling when they're waving back. Now say some people, maybe 40 percent, completely ignore you.
[00:27:38] OK that was a strange background noise. We'll see. We'll see if it gets picked up on the on the microphone.
[00:27:44] But anyway what was I saying?
[00:27:49] Oh. Happiness Walks. So the 40 percent that don't respond. It's very, very clear that they're texting and driving or they're literally staring down at their phones that they don't even see a wave and you can't take that personally because they didn't even see that you waved at them. But second of all it makes me feel good in terms of situational awareness. Like now I know that is an unsafe driver, you know, beware of that driver type of thing. And it just reminds me in general how big of a problem this whole people using their cell phones while driving is because now is actually a pretty dangerous time to drive because people are just not paying attention.
[00:28:34] But you don't take it personally that somebody is not paying attention. It's just like "Oh, that person is not paying attention on their way to work. No problem. There's three other cars that I'm going to wave to in the next few blocks." So that's the Happiness Walk.
[00:28:47] I've had a lot of really good results from that. You're getting your basic exercise by walking around you're giving yourself a positive jolt of energy, a jolt of positivity, first thing in the morning which helps to start your day out on the correct emotional tone to have a good day. And then you're priming yourself too to say yes to social interactions every. Every. The very moment somebody appears on the scene you respond positively.
[00:29:18] And again I think you want to just train yourself to immediately say yes to social interactions. If you if you if you are in a situation where you have a choice about whether or not to have a social interaction and you sit around to think about it. It's much more it's much more likely that you'll decide to say no to the social interaction. OK so that is why people are shy. That's that's the general that's a the morning happiness walk is a actionable thing that does not take very much time each day that can help you move in the right direction. And we've talked about you want to be generally positive with your vibe and you want to be smiley.
[00:30:00] And there's one thing I forgot to say about being positive with your vibe is that this includes talking about other people. So you want to... What did I call it in the notes? You want to avoid gossip and negative comments. OK. It's much more productive to elicit people's stories from them that they want to tell about themselves. Like oh my gosh you have a great fashion sense like where did you originally get interested in fashion or where where did that originally start to show itself. What were some moments when you said when you said to yourself Man I'm really good at fashion or something like that. Just to pick a random topic off the top of my head as opposed to let's mutually talk about this third person and like how annoying they are like how stupid they are or whatever.
[00:30:54] Well when you elicit a negative response even if you're talking about a third party those emotions get associated with you. So it's like if you talk about like oh this person this third person is like medical problems for 30 minutes and the other person is thinking like oh my god this is so boring and negative. They're going to associate boring and negative with you. And conversely if you talk about somebody else. But it's exciting and it's positive in those exciting positive emotions are also going to be associated with you. So that is primarily why I would want to keep it positive. Of course you want to stay situationally appropriate in the sense of you know if somebody is family member just died you don't want to be upbeat and positive about that. But you know assuming the appropriate emotional response of solid you know emotional solidarity to sad events you have you basically want to focus the conversation on the positive focus the conversation on the exciting and the upbeat and also judging is alienating So if it's like two people are talking and they're talking about a third person and you're talking about like how you disagree with everything that Suzy is doing and Susie is so stupid and if Susie just listened to you everything would be great. Then the other person is thinking to themselves well this person is talking negatively about Suzy behind her back just to pick a random name. This person probably talks bad about me behind my back.
[00:32:23] So people are going to observe the way that you treat other people when they're not there or when they are there and they're going to subconsciously say like oh that person is probably going to treat me that way. So the general vibe you want to be throwing off is a vibe of like oh I accept other people. I allow other people to be who they are. I'm quick to praise and I'm slow to criticize. And if you do that people are going to say wow it's it's fun to share with this person it's fun to be near this person because they're going to they're going to be quick to praise and slow to criticize because nobody wants nobody's going to put themselves out there with a person who's just going to be critical and critical and critical because it's like well why should I share my truth with you if you're just going to you know beat it down with your negativity so all of that is kind of setting the stage of the the emotional vibe.
[00:33:23] Body language component is very important but assuming you're kind of you know throwing off like a high energy positive. I want to be here and I'm interested in this conversation vibe.
[00:33:34] Then you're approaching things in a positive way and by the way if you're not in that emotional state like this will happen to me sometimes like oh it's friday night and like there's a house party you know a friend is having a party at their house and that's a pretty pretty good opportunity for me to meet people a lot better of an opportunity than like going to random bar but maybe I'm not feeling like going out and talking to a bunch of people. I would highly recommend using music to emotionally regulate yourself so pick pick you know three songs that get your real upbeat and excited to go out and meet people and then make a playlist of those three songs and then listen to those three songs either to motivate yourself to leave the house or while you're driving over or walking over to the house party or whatever to kind of get yourself in the mood. And even if you're not in the mood just show up and being in a social environment will put you in a mood to be in a social environment. Assuming you start having these positive interactions so maybe you show up and you're not really in a party mood but you start asking some good questions you get enthralled in an interesting conversation with somebody who maybe you know does something that you've never had that you've never heard about in detail before and it's fascinating. And all of a sudden you're warmed up and you're in a social mood and then you're ready to go to go be social OK.
[00:35:04] But let's get into the actual content because when I'm when I'm thinking about social interactions as an introvert what makes me uncomfortable is the idea or what has made me uncomfortable and uncomfortable in the past and I'm developing some tools to get around is not having something to say or only to have really stupid stuff to say like I don't want to be talking about the weather with five people in a row type of a thing.
[00:35:37] And so I've I've I've learned about some good frameworks which you're going to which you're going to basically encourage encourage good conversation so let's go and get into those now.
[00:35:48] The first is understanding the concept of Hooks. So what is a hook? A hook is basically like a conversation is going along and I might say something like Well as somebody who's from Dallas and works in the software industry I think blah blah blah about iPhones. What that's doing is providing you a number of different hooks that you can then basically take the conversation in that direction. So one of them is I'm from Dallas. One of them is I'm in the software industry. One of them is you know I have thoughts about the iPhone so you could say oh gosh tell me more about your thoughts about the iPhone. Or you could say Oh I've always wondered what it's like to be from Dallas or I've always I've never been to Dallas. Well you know tell me about it or I've always wanted to go to Dallas or last time I was in Dallas I remember you know this great restaurant or I could say gee you know what is it that you like most about being in the software industry. So a hook is an opportunity to basically yes. And if you if you think about a conversation a conversation is an improv between multiple people nobody knows what's going to happen. And it's dynamic in that moment. So what is kind of an analogous thing that people that do that's dynamic and social like that is improv. And the key to improv. The only rule of improv is to say yes.
[00:37:15] And in other words if I had said that sentence in the conversation what you don't want to do is say like well everybody from Dallas is stupid and I hate the software industry and I have an android you know screw iPhone because the other person is going to the other person has chosen to reveal a part of themselves that they're comfortable revealing and that's not going to be the most emotionally significant part of your total strangers that they have revealed a part of themselves that they were comfortable revealing. And then you can basically say like oh wow that's awesome. Tell me more or you can kind of be negative against there being in which case they're not going to want to share more about themselves. And when you understand the concept of hooks you understand that a conversation you know we can build a whole conversation just from that one sentence I described because those three hooks into one of them gives you an opportunity to dive deeper. And then let's say we dove deeper in the fact that I'm from Dallas all of a sudden we're talking about restaurants in Dallas and that provides another hook if I just want to start talking about the types of restaurants that I like in general or whatever. So if you can't hear a hook in the other person's conversation one of two things is happening. Either they are extremely introverted and they have bad social skills in which case what they're going to do is they're going to give you one word answers like oh how are you doing today. I'm fine. Well there's no hooking fine. I can't. Tell me more about how you're doing fine. You know or gosh this was such bad traffic getting over here and the weather's horrible Yeah.
[00:39:01] So that's why you never want to give one word answers because one word answers or conversation killers you want to give because there is no hook for the other person to jump on. Remember the other person wants to have a conversation as well especially if it's situationally appropriate. The other person does not want the conversation to die. So if I say this and as I said earlier on they're going to have a natural inclination to pick up on one of those three hooks and run with it or at a minimum say oh that reminds me I'm from Detroit and then start talking about themselves. But if I just say a one word answer that doesn't provide any jumping off point for them to either start talking about themselves or to delve into what we're talking about about me. So one word answers or conversation killers. If you if the other person is not giving one word answers like the other person is actually engaging in conversation at some level maybe they're giving you a few sentences but they're not like the best conversationalist in the world.
[00:40:02] If you can't identify any hooks in the conversation to use as a diving off point to bring the conversation deeper the that means that you're being a bad listener because if people are saying sentences and they're stringing together multiple sentences There are hooks in those sentences because the hooks are basically like the nouns and verbs like they're identifying people places and things that they're associated with. And those people and places and things are doing stuff and they're doing stuff potentially with adjectives like quickly or slowly or good or bad or whatever and all of those are things that you can potentially talk about. So like even like oh it was hard getting over here because my car is on its last legs. Then you could start asking them about their car or you know maybe that's a foreign conversation topic but I'm just I'm trying to give specific examples as we go through these so understanding hooks is so important. And again if you're not if you're not hearing Hooke's you're probably not listening enough in the conversation. Or another way of saying that is you're probably trying to listen but a lot of times what people do is they get stuck in their head and they're thinking to themselves like oh what is the next thing I want to say in this conversation. They're not actually focused in that very moment. It's another one of these things and meditation helps with because you can just be present in that moment.
[00:41:32] You don't have to worry about planning what you're going to say in five minutes because what you're going to see in five minutes is going to be responsive to what's going on right now. It's an improv. There's an immediacy to it.
[00:41:43] And that means that you that means that you need to be present in the moment so you can hear the hooks see you can engage rather than you know I want to talk about I want to talk about cars but nobody's asking about cars. I'm just waiting for people to shut up so I can bring up the subject of cars. You know well that is not a good conversation. That's people waiting to essentially talk to themselves out loud in the presence of other people which you will find that a lot of people do do like maybe somebody else is talking about computer programming and I'm walking up and I just start talking about cars and nobody really gives a kick. Nobody cares about cars. People do do that. But what you can basically do is like well then you have a built in easy conversation topic because it's like obviously this person wants to talk about cars just ask them about cars and they'll probably talk for the next hour. You know although if you find cars to be excruciatingly boring don't talk about cars. Find a hook that you do find interesting. And so that's what I that's what I think is most useful about this hooks. This hook concept in the sense of they're automatically going to be hooked so you can trust that the conversation is going to naturally provide opportunities to continue.
[00:42:58] You don't have to plan in advance and then also if you hear like oh there were just seven hooks from that other person you can pick the one that is interesting to you because you all are co-creating the conversation and that is that's my new plan to stay out of boring conversation because what I'm realizing is like oh the reason why I've gotten into boring conversations in the past was because I was allowing the conversation to just kind of meander. I wasn't grabbing the conversation and taking it in a productive direction. But once you understand hooks you understand like oh this conversation could go one of ten directions why don't I like move it in one of the interesting directions rather than one of the boring directions and then be you know everybody will be better off for that. OK.
[00:43:43] Now I want to get to the ford method for the method is a mnemonic of four different topics which are just kind of like go to topics that you can talk about the Ford method. I did not invent this. This is one of these things that like based on my research when I was researching for myself I found out about the Ford method. Now before I get into the Ford method which is well let me just go and get in the Ford of that right now so the Ford method is F is for family O is for occupation R is for recreation and D is for dreams. You can ask people about their family. You can ask people about what they what they do for a living and I'm going to talk about that in detail here in a minute. You can ask people what they do for fun or what they do for recreation. And you can ask people about their dreams or their aspirations. Not so much like leten you know tell me about a dream you had last night but like you know what is your dream for your future. What are you passionate about. And it's you want to stay situationally appropriate with these topics so it's not it's not appropriate to walk up to a stranger and ask them you know about their dreams about the most important thing in their entire life. No you have to start with some like conversational icebreakers before you get to that level. Or like if you're at a family if you're at a family reunion it's sick.
[00:45:07] It's much more situationally appropriate to talk about family than it is about the other topics. Although the other topics are appropriate too but I'm just saying like if you at your family's Christmas gathering it would not be situationally appropriate to only talk about work it would be nice it would be socially weird if you weren't asking people about family related topics because it's a family gathering. So if you just keep forward in the back of your mind it's like well everybody has a family if they don't have a family that's that's going to be an interesting story as well. Most people have an occupation. Most people do something to relax. If people are not relaxing then that's probably pretty telling about their personality as well. And everybody has dreams even if they're not able to actually use those dreams just yet. And people love talking about their dreams and also about their recreation. So I would really focus more on the R and the D portion in the sense that dreams are always positive dreams are always aspirational and Recreation is always positive. And in the sense that people you're asking somebody what they enjoy for fun so they're automatically going to have positive associations with that. And obviously if you talk to somebody and you say like tell me about you know subconsciously now I'm saying you basically over the course of the conversation get somebody to talk about like five different things that they really like and have positive vibes about. Like of course they're going to associate those positive feelings with you as opposed to talking walking up to somebody and saying Tell me about the five you know most difficult emotional experiences you've ever had.
[00:46:45] Well if that person honestly engaged you in those topics they would walk away feeling terrible and they would think that gosh I feel crappy when John's around. Now you want people to feel pleasantly delighted when you're around. Also keeping in mind fractionation in the sense of you want to keep it positive. Ninety percent of the time. But in the 10 percent of the time where it's where it's necessary to dive into the negative emotions you want to be willing to do that in a highly non-judgmental way. And that's something else that I should probably touch on is you don't want to be judgmental about anyone you want to seek to understand where they're coming from even if somebody says like well I believe you know insert horribly insulting stereotypical thing you don't have to agree with them but it's going to stifle the conversation if you say well you're an idiot for thinking that instead it would be it would be more validating and productive to say oh well that is an interesting viewpoint. How did you come to feel that way or what experiences led you to have that feeling. And even if you disagree with your feeling your now understanding them better and potentially getting your. You're already getting into the whys so if you're talking to like a racist and they say like oh I hate this sort of person if you engage them in a conversation about how they originally came to the conclusion to start to start hating then you were doing something much more productive than just bashing heads with them.
[00:48:13] You are actually getting them to open up the topic which they could you know which potentially could change although it's not necessarily your obligation to go fix everybody else in the world but a racist talking about why they have that racist belief is somebody who could potentially have their minds changed versus somebody who's just being entrenched because you know you're just fighting with each other and you know metaphorically trading punches which is what happens a lot when you run into the the topics that you're supposed to avoid you know religion and politics. The reason why in general you want to avoid religion politics is because it encourages people to dig into their position. It encourages people to think like oh I'm on Team A and you're on team B and we hate each other. No you want to say every human has a commonality with me. Every human has something I can learn from and it's on me to figure out what our commonality is it's on me to figure out what I can learn from them. It's on me to tease out their stories which are relevant to my life because really as one extrovert put it to me and I thought that this was really interesting that this is how extroverts seem to think it is. She said I learned about myself through interacting with other people. Now to me that's ludicrous because I learn about myself by actually interacting with myself inside my own mind. But there's this other way of learning about yourself which is interacting with other people saying like oh there's this other person out there. What does that teach me about me? So that's really the exciting promise of social interactions.
[00:49:48] Aside from the fact that like the way to be successful in life is to have positive social interactions with people it's having good business connections is having good family connections is having good friend connections. It's having long term stable connections with others which are mutually productive. But while we're on the Ford method I want to go back to the old which is occupation because I want to talk about the question what do you do for a living. And this is something that I've been guilty of in the past in the sense of it's an easy go to question because you can just sort of assume that most people have a job and so you can say oh what do you do for a living. Seems like a built in you know obvious conversation topic. I would specifically avoid that as much as possible and I am going to specifically avoid that. In the sense of if somebody is already talking about their job I think it's totally appropriate to use that hook. And you know if somebody says oh I'm I'm a brain surgeon I think it's totally appropriate to say oh is there a particular type of brain surgery you specialize in or oh when did you when did you originally know that you know you wanted to be a brain surgeon or did you have an experience you know with a brain surgeon when you were younger which gave you a positive impression of the of the profession or something like that. Those are all appropriate because the the other person has already broached the subject to their occupation thus indicating it's something that they're comfortable talking about. OK. The reason why you don't just want to broach the subject of somebody whose occupation is a few things.
[00:51:24] First of all it could be something that they're highly sensitive about maybe they just lost their job this morning. Maybe they're a janitor and they really want to be you know a schoolteacher maybe maybe they feel like what they do for a living is not expressing who they are or potentially even squelching who they are. So what if they feel like oh this job is slowly killing me. And now and now they're trying to relax and you're making them talk about their job that they feel is slowly killing them you know and that that is not going to engender positive feelings. Ok so you may be touching on a sensitive area and it's helpful to know the lay of the land as far as how sensitive that area is before you start asking questions about it. OK. The other thing though I think is a little bit more insidious and I had never thought about this before. I had thought about the unemployment thing before because that had happened to me one time I got fired from a company that I was working at. They had one major customer and they lost that major customer. And so they had to fire 85 percent of the company in one day. You know not everybody realizes that you can get fired for things that are completely unrelated to job performance so. So I had just gotten fired. I wasn't taking it personally in the sense that I knew it wasn't my fault but it was something I was sensitive about. It was something I was bummed about. It was something I was not excited to go talk to 15 people about.
[00:52:55] And I do remember being at a social interaction around that time and people were like oh what do you do for a living. And it made me very uncomfortable to basically feel like I needed to say well I got fired last week and I'm feeling pretty bummed about it. Well that doesn't make me feel good in a social interaction. You want to be. You want to be bringing out the positive you want to be building yourself up you want to be building other people up. The more kind of insidious I hadn't thought about it from this perspective.
[00:53:20] But the person if you go up and ask somebody like oh hey stranger what do you do. What do you do for a living like somebody somebody who you've not met before. What do you do for a living? That can be interpreted by the other person as basically a hierarchy as basically trying to determine where you fit in the social hierarchy so that they can determine how to treat you. In other words, maybe this person is saying what do you do for a living. Because if I am a rich investor they're going to want to schmooze me in like kiss my ass for the next two hours. But if I'm not somebody who can help them then they're going to ignore me and just walk away. So it's possible that the other people that the other person who is being asked what they do for a living it's possible that they might be feeling judged or they might feel like you are trying to judge them even if that's not true.
[00:54:16] So for example Again let's use the idea of a brain surgeon maybe a brain surgeon does not want to talk about being a brain surgeon tonight because they're concerned that if they start talking about being a brain surgeon then other people are going to think that they like that they are different in that they don't fit in because they are the other people a partner not a brain surgeon or the brain surgeon may be concerned that the other people are concerned with a brain surgeon will look down on them because the brain surgeon is a brain surgeon and that's pretty high on the social hierarchy. So in other words you really don't know.
[00:55:00] You really don't know the emotional sensitivity of that person has towards their job maybe they don't want to talk about their job because it might potentially alienate other people maybe they don't want to talk about their job because they don't have one maybe they don't want to talk about their job because they don't feel like it's expressing who they really are. And if you're like one of my old jobs was like being a convenience store clerk. Well I don't want to talk about being a convenience store clerk because it's boring enough being a convenience store clerk. The reason why I'm interacting in social interactions is to give myself a break and have an exciting and pleasant time. So that is kind of to summarize the section that's why I do not think you should ask what people do for a living and I'm going to specifically be avoiding that question although if it comes up in conversation and you can determine the emotional the emotional sensitivity or kind of how appropriate it is to continue asking questions about that topic then it would be appropriate OK. So that was the concept of Pook's that was the Ford method. OK. Last thing that I wanted to get into was basically my social interaction model. And by that I mean it has become apparent to me that there's a sequence to social interactions like you don't just walk up to a stranger and start talking about your innermost secrets. And the reason for that is because there's sort of there's sort of this dance that we go through to get comfortable with each other.
[00:56:28] It's a metaphorical dance but there's these interactions that we go through to get comfortable with each other and that enables us to share more and more and more about ourselves. In other words, there's an order to the process and things that are appropriate at the beginning are not the things that are appropriate in the middle are not the things that are appropriate at the end. So as a single person I was originally thinking about this in terms of dating and like what would be the appropriate sequence to meet somebody new and to get the social interaction going on the right foot. But once I created this mental model for myself I realized that this would actually work for business and friends as well. So I think that this is just a good general model for connecting and interacting with people. And remember every business is the people business. We could all connect and interact with more people. Or at least we can make those relationships more deep and meaningful. One of the two or possibly both. So here's my social interaction model and I'll just summarize it at the top. It's a five phase model. Which is going to get you through a positive social which is going to bring you from the beginning of the social interaction to the into the social interaction in a positive and productive way. And so those five stages are open communality passion flirtation and time bridge.
[00:57:56] And obviously I'm and I have to explain what those are but it is a little bit helpful to have the one word labels for each of them because it's going to be necessary to memorize this mental model and keep it in your mind so that you when you're actually engaging in the improv that is interacting with other people that you're going to keep this in mind so it's open commonality passion flirtation and time bridge so open is fairly self-explanatory. Have a conversation and we've already talked about going on the morning happiness walk as a way to get yourself in conversation. I've heard of the three to one method before which is that you count three to one and then go into the interaction. The bottom line is you want to just have the default mode of interacting rather than thinking about should I have an interaction or not because once you allow the part of your mind to there's going to question and worry it's going to make up a reason not to have the interactions you want to default and just have an interaction. And so this is why as far as actually the first words to say a conversation I think almost like the more mundane the better because you want to ask. Well let's say it's a question you want to ask a question that's easy to answer. So the one I'm going to go with the one that I've decided to try. I want to start practicing some of these things and putting myself in social situations so some of these have not been tested yet. But my plan for myself is to basically start with just asking somebody what time it is. And why is that. That is because I'm comfortable asking absolutely anyone at a moment's notice what time it is.
[00:59:39] Total strangers whether I'm attracted to them or not it's easy to ask somebody what time what time it is and it's also easy for that other person to answer. There's a definite answer that can easily provided by looking on their phone or whatever. And yes it's not that conducive to a conversation in the sense of like they're just going to answer with a time but at least then you're having an interaction which means you've completed the open phase. So I'm probably going to jot down some other notes in the future but you know just Hi I'm John or.
[01:00:13] There are a lot of easy simple questions you could ask somebody who if you're at a party how do you know the host or if there's if if you're at a networking event and three people are already talking to each other you can say oh how do you all know each other because they're going to know how they know each other therefore it's an easy question to answer as opposed to in the past.
[01:00:36] I've tried asking questions which are too large. At the beginning and what you run into is like because you don't have social rapport with that person they're unwilling to invest the energy to actually answer that massive question like if you walk up to a stranger and you say Oh what's your story. Well gosh in your mind your story of your life could fill up a book and it's like well who are you and why should I invest in like telling you in my entire life story when you've only invested like three words in this conversation.
[01:01:10] So asking somebody some massive thing or like I don't know asking somebody something intensely impersonal like tell me about everything that I would need to know about the interaction between you and your parents as a child. Well if you haven't had a two second conversation with somebody before you ask that question it's like well who are you to ask such an invasive and personal question so keep it light keep it you know maybe a nice calm maybe a simple compliment outlets or nice shoes or you know what a nice purse or whatever.
[01:01:46] Because it's simple it's easy. It's not too much of an ask. That's that's that's the main thing about openness is the goal is to be having an interaction and you want to. The easiest way to start interaction is to start small and just get the ball going. So that's open to commonality. And I was again reading up on social skills which is such an introvert thing to do. But I was reading up on social skills and I heard this quote people like people like them in other words I'm here in Georgia and I noticed you know I met somebody and a networking event and he was also from Texas and then all of a sudden we're buds because we're both from Texas or you know whatever.
[01:02:27] So now that you've opened now you're having a conversation. Your immediate objective is to identify things that you have in common now. Lucky for you you know that there are things in common because you're both human beings and you also have observational skills and you can hear what they're saying and the parts of the conversation so as they're dropping hooks you wait for something that you have in common and then you say like oh you know I enjoy that also. Tell me more. You know basically you want to keep asking people about them but you want to do it in a way where you're dropping little details about yourself.
[01:03:05] So like I'm not I'm not thinking of a good example of the time I have and I think communality is fairly straightforward like oh you like the same baseball team I like that baseball team basically. It doesn't matter what's in comment like oh you wear glasses I wear glasses or like you know whatever. It really doesn't matter what it is at all it just matters that the two of you seem to be similar and then it's then that you're on the same team.
[01:03:34] And I think the best example of this is like people with a similar problem is it's like two people and they're both having issues with like the financial aid office that their college while all of a sudden they're both on the same team coach strategizing about a mutual problem which is them dealing with their you know financial aid office and the type of people who are you know having trouble with financial aid or something like that.
[01:04:00] If people feel like you are similar to them then all of a sudden there's a commonality all of a sudden people are relaxing and the conversation is starting to flow much easier. The other person is feeling comfortable sharing parts of themselves because it's like oh this person is like me this person is not going to judge me for being me. But they're probably going to share in the areas that you have a similarity not you know you're not going to be perfectly similar otherwise you would be the exact same person. So in the early part of the conversation the commonality of the conversation you want to be focusing the conversation on the things that are similar between the two of you or if it's a group the collection of people is such that such that because the other person or the other people are feeling like they're similarities they're getting more and more comfortable. And this is where I think there's kind of you get to the point of the conversation if you're if you're talking to a stranger. This is the point of the conversation where they are now not trying to exit from the conversation because if you're just like interrupt a stranger and you say what time is it they're just trying to kind of answer your question and move on with their day. But if it's like what time is it. Oh my gosh I love those kind of shoes too.
[01:05:07] And like oh my gosh we went to the same high school and like oh my gosh like we both know Bert Simpson or whatever then all of a sudden they're thinking like oh I don't want to leave this conversation. I want to know more about this person who seems to be like me. Tell me more about that other person who seems so similar to myself because people like themselves at a deep level. OK so once you get to that phase and now you're having a conversation now the other person is giving you their attention. They're locked in and you want to focus on interesting topics rather than boring topics. And what is the ultimate. Interesting topic is whatever that person is passionate about because they're going to get excited they're going to be interested and that that excitement and interest is going to be kind of infectious and it's going to make the conversation more interesting. So it's like oh I asked this person what time it is. Then we found out that we went to the same high school and then they're sitting there having a conversation with me we've now gotten to the passion part of the conversation and let's say they asked me about well what do you think about global warming or what do you think about how to redesign civilization to be more ecological like.
[01:06:22] Obviously nobody is going to know me well enough to ask that question. But if we get on the subject of like my thoughts about ecology and like how the world should be designed differently I can talk about that for two hours and I will get very animated and I will really get into it. Well maybe somebody else is like that with baseball. Maybe somebody else is like that with building tables but once they give you the social hook and once they say well I you know usually spend three days a week in my woodworking shop blah blah blah will ask about woodworking for gosh sake and they will get excited about woodworking and even if you don't know anything about woodworking then you can just say gosh I've never talked to somebody who is into woodworking. I would love to understand more about woodworking. What do you think are the most important concepts to keep in mind. What are some interesting tactical details you've learned along the way. You know what do you wish you had known today if you were starting out again. And that's one of my actually one of my go to business questions is I say you know if you were starting out your career over again today what would you tell a younger version of yourself because then you get into lessons and things that they actually care about. But the point is you want to basically hone in on their passion and then get them to talk about it forever. Simple as that.
[01:07:37] Not forever but like once you get to the point where they're talking about what they're passionate about that can basically carry the entire conversation in terms of like you're never going to run out of stuff to talk about as long as what they're talking about what they're passionate about. And remember to keep dropping common communality details about yourself. So you know you're not into woodworking but you can say like oh I carved a little Scottie dog for my mom when I was young at Boy Scout camp where I could say gosh I've never done any woodworking but it would be so amazing if I was good at woodworking because I would do X Y and Z. Tell me more about woodworking or whatever. So that's passion and once you've gotten to the passion part of the conversation the other person is pretty comfortable with you because you've gotten to you've done the communality phase and then you've allowed them to talk about something that they have these real positive emotions about and that they want to talk about. It's like they knew they were going into a social interaction. Somebody could have either asked them about the weather or they asked him about woodworking. The thing they get most excited about in the whole world so of course they want to talk about woodworking or whatever. I'm just using that as an example but I have I have actually run into people where it's like they have basically a second house which is just full of woodworking tools. And I didn't talk to that person at the time about woodworking but I very much would now knowing what I know now.
[01:09:02] The point is you're pulling positive emotions you're pulling excited emotions and then you're associating it with them so it's like you know from then on out you just ask them about woodworking every time you see them and then they're like you know I feel awesome every time I'm around John. And that's because they feel awesome about woodworking and you ask him about woodworking every time. Now of course people are not a simplicity it's not like they can be passionate about multiple things so like yeah if you have 20 interactions and the only thing you interact about is woodworking they're going to be like gosh this guy's a one trick pony. But the reality is over the course of talking about woodworking then something else is going to come up in a conversation and it's because that reminds them of their relationship with their dad and then you can talk to them about their relationship with their dad or whatever. OK so that's passion. Then we get to flirtation. Flirtation is on the part of the conversation where you respond positively because they've shared aspects about themselves first they got comfortable then they really got into sharing some kind of interesting detailed stuff about themselves in the in the passion phase and then flirtation. Like if it's if it's a dating situation her sexual type of interaction or an actual flirtation type of interaction then this would be you know whenever flirtation is situationally appropriate there but let's think it through. You know I've just met some random attractive woman. We have opened we are engaged in a conversation we have realized that there are things that we have in common and we're starting to feel comfortable with each other.
[01:10:35] I have asked her about something she's passionate about she has talked about it she's gotten excited she's associated those positive energies with me then when I flirt I'm basically I'm basically responding positively to those aspects that she shared about herself. I’m kind of like validating her as a person or to go back to business the sort of example so we're talking about like let's say it's a business contact and they're into woodworking. Flirting is basically at a more general level if it's not sexual it's like oh respond positively to what they're talking about. So like I've always wanted to learn about woodworking. Oh that's so fascinating. You know tell me more about that or in a business context it could be like why do you care to have this conversation in the first place like well Bob you know I'm really glad that we had a chance to talk because I think so highly of X Y Z Corporation and I've seen what you've done in the you know managerial economics department or whatever to really take you know I noticed when you when your sales department doubled your sales and I've just been so impressed with how you guys interact at that company or whatever people like feeling good about themselves they want to be around people who make them feel good about themselves. But if you just walk up to a stranger and you say like oh you're so gorgeous and I'm sure you're very highly intelligent as well it's like well who the hell are you. And like why should I care what you think. Random person.
[01:12:06] And I kind of analogize this to what I think a lot of Web sites do wrong right now which is a lot of Web sites that I try and link to like on our Twitter feed and stuff it's like they'll have a good article about self-improvement. But before you even load up the Web site they're asking for your email address. I'm not going to give you my e-mail address because I don't know if you're somebody that I want to continue having an interaction with web site. Same thing with same thing with people. Like if you just walk up to somebody and you say like hey random stranger can you please give me your phone number. No because like why would they have any interest in continuing the interaction. OK so the reason my flirtation is Phase four in the interaction is because you have now gotten to a point where they care about what you think you've gone to a point where they probably want to continue the interaction because they're having positive associations and you're making them feel good about themselves. That's the point of the flirtation phase.
[01:13:00] And again flirtation is can be if it's a dating situation it will be actual flirtation but it can be more general and in the case of like business flirtation would be like saying positive things about men and their company and and and by the way not in a business kind of way but like if I'm taking the time to have a social interaction with somebody there's a reason I want to have a social interaction maybe it's because you know Oh Bill you know we're both friends with Jason and I've just been meaning to get to know you for a while because I know you're so important to Jason and Jason is just a key person in my life for something something like that. Like there is a true reason.
[01:13:44] Focus on the positive rather than the negative. There are positive things you can say about the other person it's more of a question of like focusing in on those so that you can again so that you can engender engender positive feelings so it's having interaction make people feel comfortable get people excited by talking about what they're passionate about and then associate positive emotions by basically affirming and validating them which I'm calling flirtation here. Once you do all those things this other person is going to want to continue having social interactions with you in the future because you're somebody who's comfortable and you're somebody who's fun to interact with. So that's when we get to the concept of a time bridge is you want to basically at that point extract yourself from the conversation because you want to extract yourself at an emotional high point you don't want to wait until the conversation has lulled in. And basically the time bridge is where you either you want to do one or you basically want to do two things you want to have a plan for how to move the relationship forward. So if this is a business meeting it can be you know hey can we circle back up in six months to follow up on x y z that we just talked about or we had talked about a mutual contact Bob. Would it be appropriate for you to introduce me to Bob so I can continue exploring what we've talked about today?
[01:15:02] You know so the time bridge is a having a plan for how the interaction is going to develop in the future and if this is more of like a dating interaction it can be you know oh we both talked about our love of the zoo. Maybe we should get together sometime and like go to the zoo or maybe be specific say you know I'm interested in going to the zoo next Wednesday would you be interested in that as well. And that's when you ask for the contact information. In other words what I've done wrong in the past is obtained people's contact information but without a plan or a context for why I was obtaining that information and then I basically had to make it happen after the fact so I would like it.
[01:15:46] I met a girl who I thought was cute. I got her Facebook information or we connected with each other on Facebook. But I had no real plan for following up and then I found myself trying to flirt and make it happen over instant message which is really not an ideal not an ideal medium for generating interest in the first place.
[01:16:06] My my theory now is that I feel like social interactions need to happen in person and then once you have an established social interaction in person once that interaction has deepened to a certain level then you can sort of virtualise it and go to instant message and you can have perfectly fine communication but it's hard to get to know somebody over instant message and so I found that I was meeting people that I wanted to develop relationships with but they were not they were not really developing properly and now that is because if I was lucky enough to get their contact information which I wasn't following this sequence so it wasn't always going super smoothly but I'll get their contact information but I would not have a good action plan. And I've been much better about this in a business context because it's it's very you don't have your ego tied up so much in the in the action plan as much as you do in a dating type of type of situation. But the time bridge is how we're going to continue this interaction in the future. And then a the exchanging of specific details that enable that. So you know let's go back to the woodworking example like oh I would love to assuming that this came up in the conversation already. I would love to take you up on your offer of touring your wood shop. I've got some availability in the next few weeks let me get your e-mail and we'll coordinate.
[01:17:29] And so that way it's like you're setting up this frame where it's like the reason I'm asking for your email is because you can expect to hear from me to coordinate a visit to your woodshop and you know this is the wood shop is situationally appropriate based on the fact that this this person's passion is woodworking and the fact that you actually are interested in touring the wood shop if it's like wood is wood shop is the most boring thing ever. And like don't have that be the follow up but follow up in a way that's actually interesting to you. And then the emailing back and forth or the texting back and forth of instant messaging back and forth is more just like working out the details you're not trying to recreate the magic of the actual social situation which is what you find is like people respond differently later when they're in a different emotional state so you want to kind of like strike while the iron is hot you made a positive first impression. Go ahead lock it in in one way or another. Add this person to your business network. See if it's appropriate to have lunch in six months or get that you know dating prospects contact information. But in the context of like we're going to do a shared activity and that's timebridge So again the sequence is you open the conversation you relentlessly identify points of commonality you hone in on their passion. You then flirt with them and then you time bridge which is deciding how the mutually deciding how the interaction is a great next step to move the interaction forward and the exchanging of information that enables that enables you to make that happen. So that has been a quick overview of social skills for introverts. I think there's a lot of really useful information in here.
[01:19:12] I know I'm personally finding it useful for myself. I will say the key with this sort of thing is practice like any sort of skill you're developing your developing habits and abilities over time and they are going to get stronger the more you use them. So you want to practice putting yourself in social situations or simply just making conversation in situations where you wouldn't have been social before like what I've noticed is like at the grocery store for example like now I find myself like actually starting a conversation with the cashier rather than looking down looking at my phone and avoiding a conversation with the cashier you know just say yes to social interaction say yes to social situations and what you'll find is like if I'm talking to the cashier at the grocery store that's unlikely to develop into a meaningful business connection. If I'm not attracted to that person it's unlikely to develop into a meaningful dating connection. But it is still getting me in the habit of saying yes to social interactions. It's still getting me in the habit in the habit of making conversations with people that I do not know very well. And so I am still getting a benefit from it. And so what you can think of is like even if there are occasional negative social interactions which tend to be extremely rare. But in any social interaction you know you're going to learn.
[01:20:40] And therefore it's going to be a positive so you find ways to put yourself in more social situations and just begin practicing some of this stuff and then it's begin to it's going to become very comfortable very quickly so that that concludes kind of the discussion about social skills for introverts. I I'm trying to focus on converse on on topics that I think are going to be very actionable and I think the skill of having conversations with other people is kind of the ultimate It's a skill that everybody would like to be better at. It's a skill that everybody can ultimately make use of no matter what you do and become closer to other people which it is statistically been shown is highly correlated with happiness so we hope you've really enjoyed this episode. We've got a lot of really exciting things planned but I won't get into them right now because we've already kind of used up our time for today. But thank you very much for joining us. We really appreciate your listenership and we look forward to speaking with you next week on the Aspire to help live in podcast.
[01:21:44] Outro Sequence