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A scientist's guide to life: how to be a better conversationalist

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https://www.sciencefocus.com/science/a-scientists-guide-to-life-how-to-be-a-better-conversationalist/

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A scientist's guide to life: how to be a better conversationalist
First, understand what counts as 'better'. A better conversation is one where there is minimum friction, misunderstanding and repetition, and maximum alignment between both parties. Some people are naturally good conversationalists, others less so. My job is to collect conversations from 'the wild', and then analyse them to see what's effective and what isn't.

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Better conversations

They're usually the conversations with minimum friction, repetition and misunderstanding, and maximum alignment between the people that take part in it.

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A good communicator

Good communicators:

  • They are very good at listening
  • They see how the other person is reacting and fir their responses accordingly
  • They make space for the other person to ...

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What to avoid

  • Don't start conversations with aggressive or challenging statements.
  • See the difference between arguments that do and don't matter and let the insignificant things go.

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Dealing with cold callers

If you don’t recognize the number, you can choose not to answer the call.

If you choose to answer, try to be concise, but nice with cold callers. They spend their days dealing with people wh...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Crises Can Confuse Communication

Failing in communication can have a big impact during a crisis. Sometimes things that are transparent to one party may be interpreted differently by another. Therefore, choosing certain words ...

Talking vs Speaking

During a crisis, using the word "talk" to begin a conversation, "Can we talk about how you are?" often gets a negative response. The reason is that we place little value on "talk." Talk is cheap or meaningless. However, substituting the word with "speak", seems to have better results.

"Talk" is loaded with context that makes it fruitless in these scenarios, while the word "speak" is free from those associations.

Being Willing

The principles for a positive and constructive discussion are framing your conversation in positivity.

By framing conversations to focus on the positive, one can move a problem forward.

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The Way Therapy Works

There is growing research on how therapy actually works. Psychological communication, dialogue, and intervention can work even better than pills.
This seems eve...

Therapy Techniques

  • Some therapists are just there to listen and provide a backdrop.
  • Even the silence that they exhibit seems to kindle the patients into divulging more of their most uncomfortable truths.
  • Others keep the sequence of assignments and tests lined up, never pausing.
  • Therapists play varied roles to get some valuable information out of the patient and make him better.

Therapy That Works

No particular form of therapy is proven to be better or more effective than others.

Different people prefer or respond to different forms of therapy.

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Asking about feelings

The act of asking an open-ended question shows that you care. “What does that feel like?” or “What has been on your mind as you’re going through this?” Then, listen non-judgmentally to ...

Willingness to understand

If someone, for instance, has received a new medical diagnosis, you can say, "It sounds like you're worried about the side effects of the treatment. Is that right?"

You can also express kindness by saying, “You’re in such a tough situation.” A facial expression is also a powerful way to show support.

Offering support

Not every person feels comforted in the same way. Acknowledge that by asking "How can I support you?"

It expresses a desire to assist without jumping in to problem-solve.

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Conversational Narcissism

Is to seek to hold the attention of a conversation on oneself. It occasionally manifests on the average person when we pretend to be listening, but we were really focusing on what we wa...

Active Listening

Is to not judge or analyze what the person is saying at first. Just focusing on listening and trying to understand their perspective.

The Three Components of Active Listening

  1. Paraphrase: Consists of repeating at the speakers a summary of what they say, so they feel understood.
  2. Inquire: Obtain all the information that is relevant to the resolution of the issue.
  3. Acknowledge: Once the issue is made clear, communicate to your counterpart that you understand it.

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The Most Awkward Conversational Pratfalls

The Most Awkward Conversational Pratfalls
  1. Approaching for the first time someone you don’t know: focus on them, ask about them and approach humbly.
  2. Deciding when to end a conversation: you can end the conversatio...

Great conversations

Great conversations

They are not just the process of exchanging of words. They represent the base for very meaningful friendship or partnership.
And especially in this era of screens and limited attention spans gre...

Ingredients of a great conversation

  • A great conversation is a two-way street, not a competition.
  • A great conversation is a safe space. Fear of judgment will stop you from opening up in front of someone.
  • A great conversation fosters relatability. Relating to something that another person has expressed indicates active listening.
  • A great conversation is an opportunity to learn. It should feel enriching and enlightening.

Raise Your Self-Esteem

Create a life you love and learn to appreciate your uniqueness.

Many social issues come from a low sense of self-worth. This causes your conversations to suffer before they begin....

A Confident Body Language

  • Stand straight.
  • Hold your head up.
  • Unfold your arms and relax your hands.
  • Establish eye contact.
  • Smile.

Connecting

Connecting with friends means letting them to know you and vice versa.

Talk about yourself, disclose your life facts, opinions and feelings. This way, you have have subjects to talk about and you form lasting bonds.

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Be direct

When having a difficult conversation, be direct and get to the point quickly.

Difficult conversations become even more difficult when the delivery...

Be specific

The more clarity you can provide, the better the critique will be received during a difficult conversation.

Be honest and thorough with your feedback, and fully clarify why you're having the conversation. Offer as many concrete examples as possible so the person understands you're not just pulling things out of thin air. 

Plan out the conversation

Prepar for a difficut conversation in advance: think of what you’re going to say, as well as anticipate how the other person might react

The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to stay even tempered and not get flustered, and therefore deliver a more solid critique.

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5 Steps to become a Better Person

Be Better, as a person, with these five simple steps:

  • Give more to others
  • Be Polite
  • Embrace Change
  • Clear your mind
  • Find ins...

Give more to others

  • The secret of receiving is in giving.
  • Success isn't just measured in how much money you have, but how much you've given or helped others.
  • Focus on helping people.

Be Polite to others

“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” 

– Albert Einstein


Kindness, gratitude and even saying thank you makes you a better person instantly.

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Mindsets around new conversations

Go into a situation where you will need to speak with people with the mindset of, "I am curious and I want to learn more about other people", rather than going into it with the mindset...

Listen with intent

The best conversationalists aren’t those who always have witty things to say, but those who are genuine listeners. 

Good listeners don’t just listen with their ears, but with their whole body. They lean into the conversation, establish eye contact, and provide their undivided attention to the person they’re speaking with.

Ask open-ended questions

Those that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer, are the best type of questions to ask if you’re looking to establish common ground. 

Just be careful not to overdo your questioning. You don’t want the other person to feel like they’re being interrogated.

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