Derek Sivers
How to Talk to Anyone - by Leil Lowndes

How to Talk to Anyone - by Leil Lowndes

ISBN: 007141858X
Date read: 2008-09-12
How strongly I recommend it: 8/10
(See my list of 360+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Wonderful considerate book about conversational people skills. (Warning: it’s written in an extremely flowery style, but try to see past that to get to the good stuff.) Gives specific instructions that are really useful for people who are not naturals. Just do what this book says, and people will warm up to you.

my notes

There are two kinds of people in this life:
Those who walk into a room and say, “Well, here I am!”
Those who walk in and say, “Ahh, there you are.”

You see, nobody gets to the top alone. Over the years people who seem to “have it all” have captured the hearts and conquered the minds of hundreds of others who helped boost them, rung by rung, to the top of whatever corporate or social ladder they chose.


Whenever people meet you, they take an instant mental snapshot. The way you look and the way you move is more than 80 percent of someone’s first impression of you. Give ‘em great posture, a heads-up look, a confident smile, and a direct gaze.

** How to Make Your Smile Magically Different

Technique (The Flooding Smile): Don’t flash an immediate smile when you greet someone, as though anyone who walked into your line of sight would be the beneficiary. Instead, look at the other person’s face for a second. Pause. Soak in their persona. Then let a big, warm, responsive smile flood over your face and overview into your eyes. It will engulf the recipient like a warm wave. The split-second delay convinces people your flooding smile is genuine and only for them.

A big, warm smile is an asset. But only when it comes a little slower, because then it has more credibility. It’s more sincere and personalized for the recipient.

** How to Strike Everyone as Intelligent and Insightful by Using Your Eyes

Technique (Sticky Eyes): Pretend your eyes are glued to your conversation partner’s with sticky warm taffy. Don’t break eye contact even after he or she has finished speaking. When you must look away, do it ever so slowly, reluctantly, stretching the gooey taffy until the tiny string finally breaks.

In a case study, the subjects reported significantly higher feelings of respect and fondness for their colleagues who had been counting their blinks.

** How to Use Your Eyes to Make Someone Fall in Love with You

Technique (Epoxy Eyes): This brazen technique packs a powerful punch. Watch your target person even when someone else is talking. No matter who is speaking, keep looking at the man or woman you want to impact. It says, “I can’t take my eyes off you” or “I only have eyes for you.”

Concentrate on the listener – your target- rather than the speaker. You are extremely interested in his or her reactions.

** How to Win Their Heart by Responding to Their Inner Infant

Technique (The Big-Baby Pivot): Give everyone you meet The Big-Baby Pivot. The instant the two of you are introduced, reward your new acquaintance. Give the warm smile, the total-body turn, and the undivided attention you would give a tiny tyke who crawled up to your feet, turned a precious face up to yours, and beamed a big toothless grin. Pivoting 100 percent towards the new person shouts "I think you are very, very special."

** How to Make Someone Feel Like an Old Friend at Once

Technique (Hello Old Friend): When meeting someone, imagine he or she is an old friend (and old customer, and old beloved, or someone else you had great affection for). How sad, the vicissitudes of life tore you two asunder. But, holy mackerel, now the party (the meeting, the convention) has reunited you with your long-lost old friend! The joyful experience starts a remarkable chain reaction in your body from the subconscious softening of your eyebrows to the positioning of your toes - and everything between.

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care...about them.

Whenever you're traveling in countries where you don't speak the native tongue, be sure to use the "hello old friend" technique.

When you act as though you like someone, you start to really like them.

** How to Come Across as 100 Credible to Everyone

Technique (Limit the Fidget): Whenever your conversation really counts, let your nose itch, your ear tingle, or your foot prickle. Do not fidget, twitch, wiggle, squirm, or scratch. And above all, keep your paws away from your puss. Hand motions near your face and all fidgeting can give your listener the gut feeling you're fibbing.

Fidgety movements give listeners the sense something just isn't right. Professional communicators, squelch any signs anyone could mistake for shiftiness. They fix a constant gaze on the listener. They never put their hands on their faces. They don't massage their arm when it tingles or rub their nose when it itches. They don't loosen their collar when it's hot or blink because it's sandy. They don't wipe away tiny perspiration beads in public or shield their eyes from the sun.

** How to Read People Like You Have ESP

Technique (Han’s Horse Sense): Make it a habit to get on a dual track while talking. Express your self, but keep a keen eye on how your listener is reacting to what you’re saying. Then plan your moves accordingly. If a horse can do it, so can a human. People will say you pick up on everything. You never miss a trick. You’ve got horse sense.

** How to Make Sure You Don’t Miss a Single Beat

Technique (Watch the Scene Before You Make the Scene): Rehearse being the Super Somebody you want to be ahead of time. SEE yourself walking around with Hang by Your Teeth posture, shaking hands, smiling the Flooding Smile, and making Sticky Eyes. HEAR yourself chatting comfortably with everyone. FEEL the pleasure of knowing you are in peak form and everyone is gravitating towards you. VISUALIZE yourself a Super Somebody. Then it all happens automatically.


The brighter the individual, the more he or she detests small talk.

** How to Start Great Small Talk

Technique (Make a Mood Match): Before opening your mouth, take a “voice sample” of your listener to detect his or her state of mind. Take a “psychic photograph” of the expression to see if your listener looks buoyant, bored, or blitzed. If you ever want to bring people around to your thoughts, you must match their mood and voice tone, if only for a moment.

Small talk is not about facts. Small talk is about putting people at ease. You must first match your listener’s mood. Top communicators pick up on their listener’s tone of voice and duplicate it.

Every mother knows this instinctively. To quiet a whimpering infant, Mama doesn’t just shake her finger and shout, “Quiet down.” No, Mama picks baby up. Mama cries, “Ooh, ooh, oh,” sympathetically matching baby’s misery for a few moments. Mama then gradually transitions the two of them into hush-hush happy sounds. Your listeners are all big babies!

** How to Sound Like You’ve Got a Super Personality (No Matter What You’re Saying)

Technique (Prosaic With Passion): Worries about your first words? Fear not, because 80 percent of you listener’s impression has nothing to do with your words anyway. Almost anything you say at first is fine. No matter how prosaic the text, an empathetic mood, a positive demeanor, and passionate delivery make you sound exciting.

Almost anything you say really is OK – as long as it puts people at ease and sounds passionate. How do you put people at ease? By convincing them they are OK and that the two of you are similar.

** How to Make People Want to Start a Conversation with You

Technique (Always Wear A Whatzit): Whenever you go to a gathering, wear or carry something unusual to give people who find you the delightful stranger across the crowded room an excuse to approach. “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but notice your…what IS that?”

Your business cards and your Whatzit are crucial socializing artifacts.

** How to Meet the People You Want to Meet

Technique (Whoozat): Whoozat is the most effective, least used (by non-politicians) meeting-people device ever contrived. Simply ask the party giver to make the introduction, or pump for a few facts that you can immediately turn into icebreakers.

** How to Break into a Tight Crowd

Technique (Eavesdrop In): No Whatzit? No host for Whoozat? No problem! Just sidle up behind the swarm of folks you want to infiltrate and open your ears. Wait for any flimsy excuse and jump in with “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear…”
Will they be taken aback? Momentarily.
Will they get over it? Momentarily.
Will you be in the conversation? Absolutely!

** How to Make “Where Are You From?” Sound Exciting

Technique (Never the Naked City): Whenever someone asks you the inevitable, “And where are you from?” never, ever, unfairly challenge their powers of imagination with a one word answer. Learn some engaging facts about your hometown that conversational partners can comment on. Then, when they say something clever in response to your bait, they think you’re a great conversationalist.

Your hook should relate to the type of person you’re speaking with.
“No man would listen to you talk if he didn’t know it was his turn next.”

** How to Come Out a Winner Every Time They Ask, “And What Do You Do?”

Technique (Never the Naked Job): When asked the inevitable “And what do you do,“you may think “I’m an economist/an educator/an engineer” is giving enough information to engender good conversation. However, to one who is not an economist, educator, or an engineer, you might as well be saying, “I’m a paleontologist/psychoanalyst/pornographer.” Flesh it out. Throw out some delicious facts about your job for new acquaintances to munch on. Otherwise, they’ll soon excuse themselves, preferring the snacks back at the cheese tray.

** How to Introduce People Like the Host(ess) with the Most(est)

Technique (Never the Naked Introduction): When introducing people don’t throw out an unbaited hook and stand there grinning like a big calm, leaving the newlymets to flutter their fins and fish for a topic. Bait the conversational hook to get them in the swim of things. Then you’re free to stay or float on to the next networking opportunity.

Help “newlymets” through their first nervous moments. Mention their hobby or even talent.

** How to Resuscitate a Dying Conversation

Technique (Be a Word Detective): Like a good gumshoe, listen to your conversation partner’s every word for clues to his or her preferred topic. The evidence is bound to slip out. Then spring on that subject like a sleuth on to a slip of the tongue. Like Sherlock Holmes, you have the clue to the subject that’s hot for the other person.

** How to Enthrall ‘Em with Your Choice of Topic – Them!

Technique (The Swiveling Spotlight): When you meet someone, imagine a giant revolving spotlight between you. When you’re talking, the spotlight is on you. When the new person is speaking, it’s shining on him or her. If you shine it brightly enough, the stranger will be blinded to the fact that you have hardly said a word about yourself. The longer you keep shining away from you, the more interesting he or she finds you.

“When I meet someone, I learn so much more if I ask about their life.” Grow more by listening than talking.

** How to Never Need to Wonder, “What Do I Say Next?”

Technique (Parroting): Never be left speechless again. Like a parrot, simply repeat the last few words your conversation partner says. That puts the ball right back in his or her court, and then all you need to do is listen.

** How to Get ‘Em Happily Chatting (So You Can Slip Away if You Want To!)

Technique: (Encore!): The sweetest sound a performer can hear welling up out of the applause is “Encore! Encore! Let’s hear it again!” The sweetest sound your conversation partner can hear from your lips when you’re talking with a group of people is “Tell them about the time you…”
Whenever you’re at a meeting or party with someone important to you, think of some stories he or she told you. Choose an appropriate one from their repertoire that the crowd will enjoy. Then shine the spotlight by requesting a repeat performance.

Make sure the story you request is one in which the teller shines.

** How to Come Across as a Positive Person

Technique (Ac-cen-tu-ate the Positive): When first meeting someone, lock your closet door and save your skeletons for later. You and your new good friend can invite the skeletons out, have a good laugh, and dance over their bones later in the relationship. But now’s the time, as the old song says, to “ac-cen-tu-ate the pos-i-tive and elim-i-nate the neg-a-tive.


85 percent of one’s success in life is directly due to communications skills.

** How to Find Out What They Do (Without Even Asking!)

Technique (What Do you Do–NOT!): A sure sign you’re a Somebody is the conspicuous absence of the question, “What do you do?” (You determine this, of course, but not with those four dirty words that label you as either a ruthless networker, a social climber, a gold-digging husband or wife hunter, or someone who’s never strolled along Easy Street.)

Big cats never ask outright, “What do you do?” (Oh they find out, all right, in a much more subtle manner.) By not asking the question, one comes across as more principled, even spiritual.”

“How do you spend most of your time?” is a gracious way to ask.

** How to Know What to Say When They Ask “What Do You Do?”

Technique (The Nutshell Resume): Just as job-seeking top managers roll a different written resume off their printers for each position they’re applying for, let a different true story about your professional life roll off your tongue for each listener. Before responding to “What do you do?” ask yourself, “What possible interest could this person have in my answer? Could he refer business to me? Buy from me? Hire me? Marry my sister? Become my buddy?”
Wherever you go, pack a nutshell about your own life to work into your communications bag of tricks.

My friend Roberto was out of work last year. He applied for two positions: a sales manager of an ice cream company and head of strategic planning for a fast-food chain. He did extensive research and found the ice cream company had deep sales difficulties and the food chain had long-range international aspirations. Did eh send the same resume to each? Absolutely not. His resume never deviated one iota from the truth of his background. However, for the ice cream company, he highlighted his experience turning a small company around by doubling its sales in three years. For the food chain, he underscored his experience working in Europe and his knowledge of foreign markets.
Both firms offered Roberto the job. Now he could play them off against each other. He went to each, explaining he’d like to work for them but another firm was offering a higher salary or more perks. The two firms started bidding against each other for Roberto. He finally chose the food chain at almost double the salary they originally offered him.

Ask yourself,”How could my professional experience benefit this person’s life?”
When meeting a potential friend or loved one, make your life sound like you will be a fun person to know.

** How to Sound Even Smarter Than You Are

Technique (Your Personal Thesaurus): Look up some common words you use every day in the thesaurus. Then, like slipping your feet into a new pair of shoes, slip your tongue into a few new words to see how they fit. If you like them, start making permanent replacements.

Remember, only fifty words makes the difference between a rich, creative vocabulary and an average, middle-of-the-road one. Substitute a word a day for two months and you’ll be in the verbally elite.

Think of a few tired, overworked words you use every day – words like smart, nice, pretty, or good. Then grab a thesaurus.

** How to Not Sound Anxious (Let Them Discover Your Similarity)

Technique (Kill the Quick “Me, Too!”): Whenever you have something in common with someone, the longer you wait to reveal it, the more moved (and impressed) he or she will be. You emerge as a confident big cat, not a lonely little stray, hungry for quick connection with a stranger.

P.S. Don’t wait too long to reveal your shared interest or it will seem like you’re being tricky.

You don’t want to sound anxious to have rapport. Instead of jumping in with, “Hey, me too!” let your conversation partner enjoy talking about it.

When someone starts telling you about an activity he has done, a trip she has made, a club he belongs to, an interest she has – anything that you share-bite your tongue.

** How to Be a “You Firstie” to Gain Their Respect and Affection

Technique (Comm-YOU-nication): Start every appropriate sentence with you. It immediately grabs your listener’s attention. It gets a more positive response because it pushes the pride button and saves them having to translate in into “me” terms. When you sprinkle you as liberally as salt and pepper throughout your conversation, your listeners find it an irresistible spice.

Suppose, you said, “Jill, you will really love this new Indian restaurant. Will you join me there this evening for dinner?” Phrasing it that way, you’ve already subliminally answered Jill’s questions and she’s more apt to give you a quick “yes.”

** How to Make Them Feel You “Don’t Smile at Just Anybody”

Technique (The Exclusive Smile): If you flash everybody the same smile, like a Confederate dollar, it loses value. When meeting groups of people, grace each with a distinct smile. Let your smiles grow out of the beauty big players find in each new face.

If one person in a group is more important to you than the others, reserve an especially big, flooding smile just for him or her.

Have you ever seen those low-budget, mail-order fashion catalogues that use the same model throughout? Whether she is engulfed in a wedding gown or partially clad in a bikini, her face sports the same plastic smile. Looking at her, you get the feeling if you rapped on her forehead, a tiny voice would come back saying “Nobody’s in here.”

Whereas models in more sophisticated magazines have mastered a myriad of different expressions: a flirtatious “I’ve got a secret” smile on one page; a quizzical “I think I’d like to get to know you but I’m not sure” smile on next; and a mysterious Mona Lisa smile on the third. You feel there’s a brain running the operation somewhere inside that beautiful head.

** How to Avoid Sounding Like a Jerk

Technique (Don’t Touch a Cliché with a Ten-Foot Pole): Be on guard. Don’t use any clichés when chatting with big winners. Don’t even touch one with a ten-foot pole. Never? Not even when hell freezes over? Not unless you want to sound dumb as a doorknob. Instead of coughing up a cliché, roll your own clever phrases by using the next technique

** How to Use Motivational Speakers’ Technique to Enhance Your Conversation

Technique (Use Jawsmith’s Jive): Whether you’re standing behind a podium facing thousands or behind the barbecue grill facing your family, you’ll move, amuse, and motivate with the same skills. Read speakers’ books to cull quotations, pull pearls of wisdom, and get gems to tickle their funny bones. Find a few bon mots to let casually
slide off your tongue on chosen occasions. If you want to be notable, dream up a crazy quotable. Make ‘em rhyme, make ‘em clever, or make ‘em funny. Above all, make ‘em relevant.

** How to banter Like the Big Shots Do (Big Winners Tell It Like It Is)

Technique (Call a Spade a Spade): Don’t hide behind euphemisms. Call a spade a spade. That doesn’t mean big cats use tasteless four-letter words when perfectly decent five- and six-letter ones exist. They’ve simply learned the King’s English, and they speak it. Here’s another way to tell the big players from the little ones just by listening to a few minutes of their conversation.

Big cats aren’t afraid of real words. If somebody is rich, big cats call it “rich.” Little cats, substitute the word wealthy.

** How to Avoid the World’s Worst Conversational Habits

Technique (Trash the Teasing): A dead giveaway of a little cat is his or her proclivity to tease. An innocent joke at someone else’s expense may get you a cheap laugh. Nevertheless, the big cats will have the last one. Because you’ll bang your head against the glass ceiling they construct to keep little cats from stepping on their paws. Never, ever, make a joke at anyone else’s expense. You’ll wind up paying for it, dearly.

** How to Give Them the Bad News (and Have Them Like You All the More)

Technique (It’s the Receiver’s Ball): A football player wouldn’t last two beats of the time clock if he made blind passes. A pro throws the ball with the receiver always in mind. Before throwing out any news, keep your receiver in mind. Then deliver it with a smile, a sigh, or a sob. Not according to how you feel about the news, but how the receiver will take it.

** How to Respond When You Don’t Want to Answer (and Wish They’d Shut the Heck Up)

Technique (The Broken Record): Whenever someone persists in questioning you on an unwelcome subject, simply repeat your original response. Use precisely the same words in precisely the same tone of voice. Hearing it again usually quiets them down. If your rude interrogator hangs on like a leech, your next repetition never fails to flick them off.

** How to Talk to a Celebrity

Technique (Big Shots Don’t Slobber): People who are VIP’s in their own right don’t slobber over celebrities. When you are chatting with one, don’t compliment her work, simply say how much pleasure or insight it’s given you. If you do single out any one of the star’s accomplishments, make sure it’s a recent one, not a memory that’s getting yellow in her scrapbook. If the queen bee has a drone sitting with her, find a way to involve him in the conversation.

** How to Make Them Want to Thank You

Technique (Never the Naked Thank You): Never let the phrase “thank you” stand alone. From A to Z, always follow it with for: from “Thank you for asking” to “Thank you for zipping me up.”


** How to Be a Modern Day Renaissance Man or Woman

Technique (Scramble Therapy): Once a month, scramble your life. Do something you’d never dream of doing. Participate in a sport, go to an exhibition, hear a lecture on something totally out of your experience. You get 80 percent of the right lingo and insider questions from just one exposure.

** How to Sound Like You Know All About Their Job or Hobby

Technique: (Learn a Little Jobbledygook): Big winners speak Jobbledygook as a second language. What is Jobbledygook? It’s the language of other professions.
Why speak it? It makes you sound like an insider. How do you learn it? You’ll find no Jobbledygook cassettes in the language section of your bookstore, but the lingo is easy to pick up. Simply ask a friend who speaks the lingo of the crowd you’ll be with to teach you a few opening questions. The words are few and the rewards are manifold.

** How to Bare Their Hot Button (Elementary Doc-Talk)

Technique (Baring Their Hot Button): Before jumping blindly into a bevy of bookbinders or a drove of dentists, find out what the hot issues are in their fields. Every industry has burning concerns the outside world knows little about. Ask your informant to bare the industry buzz. Then, to heat the conversation up, push those buttons.

** How to Secretly Learn About Their Lives

Technique (Read Their Rags): Is your next big client a golfer, runner, swimmer, surfer, or skier? Are you attending a social function filled with accountants or Zen Buddhists – or anything in between? There are untold thousands of monthly magazines serving every imaginable interest. You can dish up more information than you’ll ever need to sound like an insider with anyone just by reading the rags that serve their racket. (Have you read your latest copy of Zoonooz yet?)

** How to Talk When You’re in Other Countries

Technique (Clear “Customs”): Before putting one toe on foreign soil, get a book on dos and taboos around the world. Before you shake hands, give a gift, make gestures, or even compliment anyone’s possessions, check it out. Your gaffe could gum up your entire gig.

** How to Talk Them into Getting the “Insider’s Price” (on Practically Anything You Buy)

Technique (Bluffing For Bargains): The haggling skills used in ancient Arab markets are alive and well in contemporary America for big-ticket items. Your price is much lower when you know how to deal. Before every big purchase, find several vendors -a few to learn from and one to buy from. Armed with a few words of industryese, you’re ready to head for the store where you’re going to buy.


**How to Make Them Feel You’re of the Same “Class”

Technique (Be a Copyclass): Watch people. Look at the way they move. Small movements? Big movements? Fast? Slow? Jerky? Fluid? Old? Young? Classy? Trashy?
Pretend the person you are talking to is your dance instructor. Is he a jazzy mover? Is she a balletic mover? Watch his or her body, then imitate the style of movement. That makes your conversation partner subliminally real comfy with you.

** How to Make Them Feel That You’re Like “Family”

Technique (Echoing): Echoing is a simple linguistic technique that packs a powerful wallop. Listen to the speaker’s arbitrary choice of nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives - and echo them back. Hearing their words come out of your mouth creates subliminal rapport. It makes them feel you share their values, their attitides, their interests, their experiences.

Use their words, not yours.

** How to Really Make It Clear to Them

Technique (Potent Imaging): Does your customer have a garden? Talk about “sowing the seeds for success.” Does your boss own a boat? Tell him or her about a concept that will “hold water” or “stay afloat.” Maybe he is a private pilot? Talk about a concept really “taking off.” She plays tennis? Tell her it really hits the “sweet spot.” Evoke your listener’s interests or lifestyle and weave images around it. To give your points more power and punch, use analogies from your listener’s world, not your own. Potent Imaging also tells your listeners you think like them and hints you share their interests.

** How to Make Them Feel You Empathize (Without Just Saying “Yep, Uh Huh, Yeah”)

Technique (Employ Empathizers): Don’t be an unconscious ummer. Vocalize complete sentences to show your understanding. Dust your dialogue with phrases like “I see what you mean.” Sprinkle it with sentimental sparkles like “That’s a lovely thing to say.” Your empathy impresses your listeners and encourages them to continue.

** How to Make Them Think You See/Hear/Feel It Just the Way They Do

Technique (Anatomically Correct Empathizers): What part of their anatomy are your associates talking through? Their eyes? Their ears? Their gut?

For visual people, use visual empathizers to make them think you see the world the way they do.
For auditory folks, use auditory empathizers to make them think you hear them loud and clear.
For kinesthetic types, use kinesthetic empathizers to make them think you feel the same way they do.

Suppose a business colleague describing a financial plan says, “With this plan, we can see out way clear in six months.” Since this time she’s using primary visual references, say “I see what you mean” or “You really have a clear picture of that situation.

If, instead, your colleague had said, “This plan has a good ring to it, “you’d substitute auditory empathizers like “It does sound great,” or “I hear you.”

A third possibility. Suppose she had said, “I have a gut feeling this plan will work. “Now you give her a kinesthetic empathizer like “I can understand how you feel,” or “You have a good grasp of that problem.”

** How to Make ‘Em Think We (Instead of You vs. Me)

Technique (The Premature We): Create the sensation of intimacy with someone even if you’ve met just moments before. Scramble the signals in their psyche by skipping conversational levels one and two and cutting right to level three and four. Elicit intimate feelings by using the magic words we, us, and our.

Use the word “we” prematurely. At a party, you might say to someone standing behind you ate the buffet line, “Hey, this looks great. They really laid out a nice spread for us.” Or, “Uh-oh, we’re going to get fat if we let ourselves enjoy all of this.

** How to Create a Friendly “Private Joke” with Them

Technique (Instant History): When you meet a stranger you’d like to make less a stranger, search for some special moment you shared during your first encounter. Then find a few words that reprieve the laugh, the warm smile, the good feelings the two of you felt. Now, just like old friends, you have a history together, and Instant History. With anyone you’d like to make part of your personal or professional future, look for special moments together. Then make them a refrain.


Mind boggling, isn’t it? Sociologists’ research shows: 1) a compliment from a new person is more potent than from someone you already know, 2) your compliment has more credibility when given to an unattractive person or an attractive person whose face you’ve never seen, 3) you are taken more seriously if you preface your comments by some self-effacing remark-but only if your listener perceives you as higher on the totem pole. If you’re lower, your self-effacing remark reduces your credibility.

** How to Compliment Someone (Without Sounding Like You’re Brownnosing)

Technique (Grapevine Glory): A compliment one hears is never as exciting as the one he overhears. A priceless way to praise is not by telephone, not by telegraph, but by tell-a-friend. This way you escape possible suspicion that you are an apple-polishing, bootlicking, egg-sucking, back-scratching sycophant trying to win brownie points. You also leave recipients with the happy fantasy that you are telling the whole world about their greatness.

** How to Be a “Carrier Pigeon” of Good Feelings

Technique (Carrier Pigeon Kudos): People immediately grow a beak and metamorphosize themselves into carrier pigeons when there’s bad news. (It’s called gossip.) Instead, become a carrier of good news and kudos. Whenever you hear something complimentary about someone, fly to them with the compliment. Your fans may not posthumously stuff you and put you on display in a museum like Stumpy Joe. But everyone loves the carrier pigeon of kind thoughts.

** How to Make ‘Em Feel Your Admiration “Just Slipped Out”

Technique (Implied Magnificence): Throw a few comments into your conversation that presuppose something positive about the person you’re talking with. But be careful. Don’t blow it like the well intentioned maintenance man. Or the southern boy who, at the prom, through he was flattering his date when he told her, “Gosh, Mary Lou, for a fat gal you dance real good.”

** How to Win Their Hears by Being an “Undercover Complimenter”

Technique (Accidental Adulation): Become an undercover complimenter. Stealthily sneak praise into the parenthetical part of your sentence. Just don’t try to quiz anyone later on your main point. The joyful jolt of your accidental adulation strikes them temporarily deaf to anything that follows.

** How to Make ‘Em Never Forget You with a “Killer Compliment”

Technique (Killer Compliment): Whenever you are talking with a stranger you’d like to make part of your professional or personal future, search for one attractive, specific, and unique quality he or she has. At the end of the conversation, look the individual right in the eye. Say his or her name and proceed to curl all ten toes with the Killer Compliment.

A Killer Compliment is more like “What exquisite eyes you have,” (very specific) or “You have a wonderful air of honesty about you,” (very personal).

** How to Make ‘Em Smile with Itty-Bitty Boosters

Technique (Little Strokes): Don’t make your colleagues, your friends, your loved ones look at you and silently say, “Haven’t I been pretty good today?” Let them know how much you appreciate them by caressing them with verbal Little Strokes like “Nice job!” “Well done!” “Cool!”

** How to Praise with Perfect Timing

Technique (The Knee-Jerk “Wow!”): Quick as a blink, you must praise people the moment they finish a feat. In a wink, like a knee-jerk reaction say “You were terrific!” Don’t worry that they won’t believe you. The euphoria of the moment has a strangely numbing effect on the achiever’s objective judgment.

** How to Make ‘Em Want to Compliment You

Technique (Boomeranging): Just as a boomerang flies right back to the thrower, let compliments boomerang right back to the giver. Like the French, quickly murmur something that expresses “That’s very kind of you.”

** How to Make a Loved One Feel You Are THE Partner for Life

Technique (The Tombstone Game): Ask the important people in your life what they would like engraved on their tombstone. Chisel it into your memory but don’t mention it again. Then, when the moment is right to say “I appreciate you” or “I love you.” Fill the blanks with the very words they gave you weeks earlier.
You take people’s breath away when you feed their deepest self-image to them in a compliment. “At last,” they say to themselves, “someone who loves me for who I truly am.”

We say to ourselves, “Maybe the world will little note nor long remember how brilliant, how wonderful, how witty, how creative or caring I really am. However, those who truly know and love me – they will recognize my greatness, my magic, my specialness over all other ordinary mortals.” When we find people with supernatural powers of perception to recognize our remarkableness, we become addicted to the heady drug of their appreciation.

Telling him you admire him for the same reason he admires himself has an impact on Joe like no other compliment in the world.


** How to Sound More Exciting on the Phone

Technique (Talking Gestures): Think of yourself as the star of a personal radio drama every time you pick up the phone. If you want to come across as engaging as you are, you must turn your smiles into sound, your nods into noise, and all your gestures into something your listener can hear. You must replace your gestures with talk. Then punch up the whole act 30 percent!

** How to Sound Close (Even if You’re Hundreds of Miles Away)

Technique (Name Shower): People perk up when they hear their own name. Use it more often on the phone than you would in person to keep their attention. Your caller’s name re-creates the eye contact, the caress, you might give in person. Saying someone’s name repeatedly when face-to-face sounds pandering. But because there is physical distance between you on the phone –sometimes you’re a continent apart-you can spray your conversation with it.

** How to Make ‘Em Happy They Called You

Technique (“Oh Wow, It’s You!”): Don’t answer the phone with an “I’m just sooo happy all the time” attitude. Answer warmly, crisply, and professionally. Then, after you hear who is calling, let a huge smile of happiness engulf your entire face and spill over into your voice. You make your caller feel as through your giant warm fuzzy smile is reserved for him or her.

**How to Sneak Past the Gatekeeper

Technique (The Sneaky Screen): If you must screen your calls, instruct your staff to first say cheerfully, “Oh yes, I’ll put you right through. May I tell her who’s calling?” If the party has already identified himself, it’s “Oh of course, Mr. Whoozit. I’ll put you right though.” When the secretary comes back with the bad news that Mr. or Ms. Bigwig is unavailable, callers don’t take it personally and never feel screened. They fall for it every time, just like I did.

** How to Get What You Want on the Phone from Big Shots

Technique (Salute the Spouse): Whenever you are calling someone’s home, always identify and greet the person who answers. Whenever you call someone’s office more than once or twice, make friends with the secretary. Anybody who is close enough to answer the phone is close enough to sway the VIP’s opinion of you.

** How to Get What You Want – by Timing!

Technique (What Color Is Your Time?): No matter how urgent you think your call, always begin by asking the person about timing. Either use the What Color Is Your Time? Device or simply ask, “Is this a convenient time for you to talk?” When you ask about timing first, you’ll never smash your footprints right in the middle of your telephone partner’s sands of time. You’ll never get a “No!” just because your timing wasn’t right.

** How to Impress Everyone with Your Outgoing Voicemail Message

Technique (Constantly Changing Outgoing Message): If you want to be perceived as conscientious and reliable, leave a short, professional, and friendly greeting as your outgoing message. No music. No jokes. No inspirational messages. No boasts, bells, or whistles. And here’s the secret: change it every day. Your message doesn’t have to be flawless. A little cough or stammer gives a lovely unpretentious reality to your message.

** How to Get Them to Call You Back

Technique (Your Ten-Second Audition): While dialing, clear your throat. If an answering machine picks up, pretend the beep is a big Broadway producer saying “Nexxxt.” Now you’re on. This is Your Ten-Second Audition to prove you are worthy of a quick callback.

**How to Make the Gatekeeper Think You’re Buddy-Buddy with the VIP

Technique (The Ho-Hum Caper): Instead of using your party’s name, casually let the pronoun he or she roll off your tongue. Forget “Uh, may I speak to Ms. Bigshot please?” Just announce, “Hi, Bob Smith here, is she in?” Tossing the familiar she off your tongue signals to the secretary that you and her boss are old buddies.

** How to Make Them Say You Have Super Sensitivity

Technique (I Hear Your Other Line): When you hear a phone in the background, stop speaking-in midsentence, if necessary-and say “I hear you r other line,” (or your dog is barking, your baby is crying, your spouse calling you). Ask whether she has to attend to it. Whether she does or not, she’ll know you’re a top communicator for asking.

**How to “Listen Between the Lines” on the Phone

Technique (Instant Replay): Record all your business conversations and listen to them again. The second or third time, you pick up significant subtleties you missed the first time. It’s like football fans who often don’t know if there was a fumble until they see it all over again in Instant Replay.


Ask “Who’s coming?” As the party giver chats casually about the guest list, politicians scribble the names of the people who interest them, then resolve to meet each.

Biggies get there early to start hitting their marks as each arrives. VIP’s frequently come early to get their business done before party regulars who “hate to be the first one there” start arriving. Once they’ve accomplished what they set out to do, they’re on their way to the next opportunity.

Why is the Party Being Given?

Their knowledge also makes them valuable agents for the party giver. A savvy politician introduces the job-seeking daughter to some executives at the party or tells the most alluring women at the bash what a great guy birthday boy is. When chatting with reporter, he talks up the host’s business that needs good PR.

Using “The Business Card Dossier” technique described later in this section, they decide how, when, and if to deal with each. Does this person require a phone call? Should that one receive a handwritten note? Shall I E-mail or call the other one?

** How to Avoid the Most Common Party Blooper

Technique (Munching Or Mingling): Politicians want to be eyeball to eyeball and belly to belly with their constituents. Like any big winner well versed in the science of proxemics and spatial relationships, they know any object except their belt buckle has the effect of a brick wall between two people. Therefore they never hold food or drink at a party. Come to munch or come to mingle. But do not expect to do both. Like a good politician, chow down before you come.

Politicians always eat before they come to the party.

** How to Make an Unforgettable Entrance

Technique (Rubberneck the Room): When you arrive at the gathering, stop dramatically in the doorway. Then s-l-o-w-l-y survey the situation. Let your eyes travel back and forth like a SWAT team ready in a heartbeat to wipe out anything that moves.

It is significant that, while you’re standing in the doorway, you’re not thinking, “Look at me.” The reason you’re Rubbernecking the Room is not to show off. It is so you can diagnose the situation you’re walking into. Take note of the lighting, the bar, and most important, the faces. Listen to the music, the buzz of the crowd, the clinking of glasses.

** How to Meet the People YOU Want to Meet

Technique (Be The Chooser, Not the Choosee): The lifelong friend, the love of you life, or the business contact who will transform your future may not be at the party. However, someday, somewhere, he or she will be. Make every party a rehearsal for the big event. Do not stand around waiting for the moment when that special person approaches you . You make it happen by exploring every face in the room. No more “ships passing in the night.” Capture whatever or whomever you want in your life.

** How to Subliminally Lure People to You at a Gathering

Technique (Come-Hither Hands): Be a human magnet, not a human repellent. When standing at a gathering, arrange your body in an open position-especially your arms and hands. People instinctively gravitate toward open palms and wrists seductively arranged in the “come hither” position. They shy away from knuckles in the “get lost or I’ll punch you” position. Use your wrists and palms to say “I have nothing to hide,” “I accept you and what you’re saying,” or “I find you sexy.”

Women instinctively turn their wrists and palms upward when a man excites them.

Position yourself near a doorway since everyone must pass your way at some point in the evening.

** How to Make ‘Em Feel Like a Movie Star

Technique (Tracking): Like an air-traffic controller, track the tiniest details of your conversation partners’ lives. Refer to them in your conversation like a major news story. It creates a powerful sense of intimacy.
When you invoke the last major or minor event in anyone’s life, it confirms the deep conviction that he or she is an old-style hero around whom the world revolves. And people love you for recognizing their stardom.

Politicians make a science out of Tracking. They keep a little black box either on their desk, in their computer, or in their brain of the last concern, enthusiasm, or event discussed with everyone in their life. They keep track of where the people were, what they said, and what they were doing since the last conversation. Then the first words of the next phone call or meeting with that person relates to that information.

** How to Amaze Them with What You Remember About Them

Technique (The Business Card Dossier): Right after you’ve talked to someone at a party, take out your pen. On the back of his or her business card write notes to remind you of the conversation: his favorite restaurant, sport, movie, or drink; whom she admires, where she grew up, a high school honor; or maybe a joke he told.

In your next communication, toss off a reference to the favorite restaurant, sport, movie, drink, hometown, high school honor. Or reprieve the laugh over the great joke.

** How to Make the Sale with Your Eyeballs

Technique (Eyeball Selling): The human body is a twenty-four-hour broadcasting station that transmits “You thrill me.” “You bore me.” “I love that aspect of your product.” “That one puts my feet to sleep.”

Set the hidden cameras behind your eyeballs to pick up on all your customers’ and friends’ signals. Then plan your pitch and your pace accordingly.


How many times has one of your associates made a dumb, insensitive gaffe? How often have you written somebody off because of some stupid move” Do you think he knew what he was doing? Of course not. He had no idea he was crossing a line or stepping on your toes. Probably no one ever told him about the subtleties we’re going to discuss in this final section of Hot to Talk to Anyone.

** How to Win Their Affection by Overlooking Their Bloopers

Technique (See No Bloopers, Hear No Bloopers): Cool communicators allow their friends, associates, acquaintances, and loved ones the pleasurable myth of being above commonplace bloopers and embarrassing biological functions. They simply don’t notice their comrades’ minor spills, slips, fumbles, and faux pas. They obviously ignore raspberries and all other signs of human frailty in their fellow mortals. Big winners never gape at another’s gaffes.

People hate to be reminded of the moments when they’re not shining.

** How to Win Their Heart When Their Tongue is Faltering

Technique (Lend A Helping Tongue): Whenever someone’s story is aborted, let the interruption play itself out. Give everybody time to dote on the little darling, give their dinner order, or pick up the jagged pieces of china.

Then, when the group reassembles, simply say to the person who suffered story –interrupts, “Now please get back to your story.” Or better yet, remember where they were and then ask, “So what happened after the…” (and fill in the last few words)

** How to Let ‘Em Know “What’s In It” for Them

Technique (Bare the Buried WIIFM (and WIIFY): Whenever you suggest a meeting or ask a favor, divulge the respective benefits. Reveal what’s in it for you and what’s in it for the other person-even if it’s zip. If any hidden agenda comes up later, you get labeled a sly fox.

** How to Make Them Want to Do Favors for You

Technique (Let ‘Em Savor the Favor): Whenever a friend agrees to a favor, allow your generous buddy time to relish the joy of his or her beneficence before you make them pay the piper. How long? At least twenty-four hours.

** How to Ask for Favors (and Get Them!)

Technique (Tit for [Wait . . . Wait] Tat): When you do someone a favor and it’s obviously that “he owes you one,” wait a suitable amount of time before asking him to “pay.” Let him enjoy the fact (or fiction) that you did it out of friendship. Don’t call in your tit for their tat too swiftly.

** How to Know What Not to Say at Parties

Technique (Parties Are for Pratter): There are three sacred safe havens in the human jungle where even the toughest tiger knows he must no attack. The first of these is parties.

Parties are for pleasantries and good fellowship, not for confrontations. Big players, even when standing next to their enemies at the buffet table, smile and nod. They leave tough talk for tougher setting.

** How to Know What Not to Say at Dinner

Technique (Dinner’s For Dining): The most guarded safe haven respected by big winners is the dining table. Breaking bread together is a time when they bring up no unpleasant matters. While eating, they know it’s OK to brainstorm and discuss the positive side of the business: their dreams, their desires, their designs. They can free associate and come up with new ideas. But no tough business.

Only after they have played out this crucial charade can they discuss business. But no dirty business. The biggies can brainstorm over coffee. They can discuss proposals over dessert. They can toss around new ideas over cordials. They can explore the positive side of the merger, the acquisition, or the partnership while waiting for the check.

** How to Know What Not to Say in a Chance Meeting

Technique (Chance Encounters Are for Chitchat): If you’re selling, negotiating, or in any sensitive communication with someone, do NOT capitalize on a chance meeting. Keep the melody of your mistaken meeting sweet and light. Otherwise, it could turn into your swan song with Big Winner.

** How to Prepare Them to Listen to You

Technique (Empty Their Tanks): If you need information, let people have their entire say first. Wait patiently until their needle is on empty and the last drop drips out and splashes on the cement. It’s the only way to be sure their tank is empty enough of their own inner noise to start receiving your ideas.

** How to Turn Their Anger Around (in Three Sentences or Less)

Technique (Echo the Emo): Facts speak. Emotions shout. Whenever you need facts from people about an emotional situation, let them emote. Hear their facts but empathize like mad with their emotions. Smearing on the emo is often the only way to calm their emotional storm.

** How to Make ‘Em Like You (Even When You’ve Messes Up):

Technique (My Goof, Your Gain): Whenever you make a boner, make sure your victim benefits. It’s not enough to correct your mistake. Ask yourself, “What could I do for this suffering soul so he or she will be delighted I made the flub?” Then do it, fast! In that way, your goof will become your gain.

** How to trap a Rat with Class

Technique (Leave an Escape Hatch): Whenever you catch someone lying, filching, exaggerating, distorting, or deceiving, don’t confront the dirty duck directly. Unless it is your responsibility to catch or correct the culprit-or unless you are saving other innocent victims by doing so-let the transgressor out of your trap with his tricky puss in one piece. Then resolve never to gaze upon it again.

Why do big winners let bad-news people get away with bummers?
By closing your mouth (and then the door forever), you are saying, “You are so beneath me I’m not going to even waste my words on you.”

** How to Get Whatever You Want from Service Personnel

Technique (Buttercups for Their Boss): Do you have a store clerk, accountant, law firm junior partner, tailor, auto mechanic, maître d’, massage therapist, kid’s teacher-or any other worker you want special attention from in the future? The surefire way to make them care enough to give you their very best is send a buttercup to their boss.

** How to Be a Leader in a Crowd, Not a Follower

Technique (Lead the Listeners): No matter how prominent the big cat behind the podium is, crouched inside is a little scaredy-cat who is anxious about the crowd’s acceptance.

Big winners recognize you’re a fellow big winner when they see you leading their listeners in a positive reaction. Be the first to applaud or publicly commend the man or woman you agree with (or want favors from).

** How to Make All the Right Moves

Technique (The Great Scorecard in the Sky): Any two people have an invisible scorecard hovering above their heads. The numbers continually fluctuate, but one rule remains: players with lower score pays deference to player with higher score. The penalty for not keeping your eye on The Great Scorecard in the Sky is to be thrown out of the game. Permanently.

Big winners-before putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, mouth to phone, or hand to someone else’s to shake it-do a quick calculation. They ask themselves “Who has the most to benefit from this relationship? What has each of us done recently that demand deference from the other?” And what can I do to even the score?