The Charisma Myth shows you how to become more influential, more persuasive, and more inspiring.
When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don’t converse very well. Celeste Headlee’s years of interview experience give her a unique perspective on what makes for a good conversation.
Number one: Don’t multitask. And I don’t mean just set down your cell phone or your tablet or your car keys or whatever is in your hand. I mean, be present. Be in that moment.
Number two: Don’t pontificate. If you want to state your opinion without any opportunity for response or argument or pushback or growth, write a blog.
Number three: Use open-ended questions. In this case, take a cue from journalists. Start your questions with who, what, when, where, why or how. If you put in a complicated question, you’re going to get a simple answer out.
Number four: Go with the flow. That means thoughts will come into your mind and you need to let them go out of your mind. We’ve heard interviews often in which a guest is talking for several minutes and then the host comes back in and asks a question which seems like it comes out of nowhere, or it’s already been answered.
Number five: If you don’t know, say that you don’t know. Now, people on the radio, especially on NPR,are much more aware that they’re going on the record, and so they’re more careful about what they claim to be an expert in and what they claim to know for sure. Do that.
Number six: Don’t equate your experience with theirs. If they’re talking about having lost a family member, don’t start talking about the time you lost a family member. If they’re talking about the trouble they’re having at work, don’t tell them about how much you hate your job. It’s not the same. It is never the same. All experiences are individual.
Number seven: Try not to repeat yourself. It’s condescending, and it’s really boring, and we tend to do it a lot. Especially in work conversations or in conversations with our kids, we have a point to make, so we just keep rephrasing it over and over. Don’t do that.
Number eight: Stay out of the weeds. Frankly, people don’t care about the years, the names, the dates, all those details that you’re struggling to come up with in your mind. They don’t care. What they care about is you.
Number nine: This is not the last one, but it is the most important one. Listen. I cannot tell you how many really important people have said that listening is perhaps the most, the number one most important skill that you could develop.
One more rule, number 10, and it’s this one: Be brief.
Complement The Charisma Myth with How To Talk So People Listen: The Fore-Thought Chart.