Talk with, not at

Even when standing before an audience, no matter the size, make it feel like a conversation. Talk with people, not at them. Ask questions. Even rhetorical questions feel conversational without actually needing a response. Make eye contact. Connect and respond to the vibe of the room.

And in interpersonal communication, master the nuance of listening with the intent to understand. Probe and question and clarify. See if you can articulate the other’s perspective effectively. When they get that you get them, they will then be open to getting you.

The best conversationalists I know don’t actually impress with what they say. It’s what they ask and how they listen that makes them shine and makes me value their presence.

Conversations aren’t contests. They are about connection and understanding and shared meaning. Talk with others, not at them.