9 Simple Principles of Communication to Boost Your Conversation Immediately

Meet cool people, chat cool things, create cool future

What is the common thing between meetup events, techonology workshops, business seminars, office parties, and academic conferences?

You need to “say something”.

Maybe you would argue that I can hide myself to avoid going any events. Sure, you can. You get into the elevator after work immediately, and then head up — your CEO is smiling at you like Cora. If you don’t know cora, refer to the following image. What should I say??? It is a bit quite. OH, I read an article about 30-sec elevator pitch before. But what did it talk about? I forgot, my mind is blank, air is frozen …

Photo credit to chezcora.com

Maybe the chat could be easier. Maybe you want the 9 simple principles of communication which can boost your conversation immediately.

cheatsheet of 9 principals in communication

1 “I organize this event and I am the host.”

I own this place. I organize this event. I am the host and people here are my guest who I should take care of. With this mindset, as a participant, you could naturally say something like, “Do you like the food?”, “How is the music?”, “What do you think about the event?”, “The topic is interesting. Is it related to your daily work?”, and so on.

2 Balance the conversation.

You are not interviewing or questioning the one you are speaking with. Provide information from your side as well while asking questions.

For example, instead of asking “What do you do on weekends”, you could say, “I usually go hiking on weekends. What is your weekend routine?” Rather than “What do you do”, you could say, “I am a Data Scientist. What about you?”

Human like balance. You can use talk — ask — talk rhythm to balance the in and out of information.

3 Ask open questions.

Ask open questions that can be directed to anywhere he/she wants.

  • “Do you go to Caribbean for vacations?” VS “Where would you like to go for vacations?”
  • “Do you like jazz music?” VS “What type of music do you like?”
  • “Do you miss your hometown?” VS “What do you feel after leaving your hometown for so many years?”

Which questions do you feel more interested to answer? Close questions constrain the response within a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Conversely, with the open ones, you are given a big space to direct the topic anywhere and talk about anything you like .

4 Grow the tree.

Find the keyword to grow the tree. Social conversation is a game of extension, like growing a plant from a small seed to a big tree.

“I just moved to Ottawa from Toronto.” “Toronto?! My cousin is living in Toronto. How long did you live there?”

“We had a lazy weekend. Went for a movie and did some grocery shopping.” “Sounds you had a good rest. What movie did you watch? I haven’t watched a movie for a while.”

“We tried a sushi restaurant then went to the Christmas market.” “Oh, Christmas market. Is it the one at St. Laurent Ave? How is it. I wanna check it out .”

Find the keyword which interest you and extend the conversation which would make people feel that you are paying attention to what they talk about and you care about them.

5 Food, food, food.

“Eat Pray Love.” Yes, everyone eats.

Keto diet, low-carb diet, atkins diet, intermittent fasting, beyond meat, vegegan, baking, sweets, burrito, recipes, whatever…

Talking about food can comfort people and make people relaxed psychologically. That is why assassination often happen during lunch/dinner time.

6 Talk about what you see.

Find ideas of topics by observing surroundings, for example, his/her outfit, the speakers, the decorations of the room, the weather, and so on.

  • “It’s the latest Apple Watch. I was thinking about getting one. How is it?”
  • “The speaker is awesome. What motivates you to come?”
  • “The meeting room is big. Have you been here before? It is my first time here though.”
  • “I like your ring. The blue stone looks special. Is there a story?”
  • “Christmas is coming. What is you vacation plan?”

7 Facts, insights, feelings.

The hierarchy pyramid of communication from bottom to the top is facts-insights-feelings.

Chat about facts first, for example, the news, the weather, the event, which can be followed by exchanging insights. Only get to the feeling level if you sense that the conversation is warmed up enough and it is smooth to get deeper without the feeling of intrusive.

8 Touch points.

Find at least one thing you have in common. It could be

  • People: common friends, singer you both like, writer, painter
  • Place: hometown, university, city you had lived/visited
  • Hobby: running, dancing, movie

People are always looking for like-minded friends. The touch points are the intersections of two circles. Common experience is often associated with the feeling of familiarity and intimacy.

9 Three voices.

You always have three voices.

Agree: provide an example to support his/her argument.

Question: I have a question, “why …”, “how to …”, “what is …”

Disagree: I hear you. In fact, I believe…

To recap, we introduced the 9 simple principles in communication with some examples of dialogs. The goal of the conversations is to establish a feeling and impression that:

  • we are like-minded people
  • we need each other’s help/resource in the future

Meet cool people, chat cool things, create cool future.

P.s. To be honest, I am not qualified to write articles about communication because as an introvert tech person, I am often confused about how to get closer to people and how to establish a real connection. Inspired by Rumi’s poem,

The crack is where the light comes in.

By practicing the right way, we can grow better. Instinctively, I believe that human has a desire to be connected, just see how hard we have tried to find an alien. Hello, alien. Nope, hello world. Nope, I said, “Hello, friend!!!”

Edit on photo from Sesame street

Data Scientist: Keep it simple.

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