How To Talk So People Listen To You

How to make people listen to you
Do you often feel ignored when you say something?

Maybe you speak up in a group but no one pays attention. Then someone interrupts over you and instantly has the spotlight.

Or it seems everyone is always speaking over each other; their ideas get noticed but when you try…nothing.

Plenty of my readers have mentioned this problem. And in the TED talk titled “How to Speak So People Want to Listen,” Julian Treasure gives great tips to stop being ignored. Julian is an expert on sound and speech so he’s someone to listen to in this area.

I’ve included the talk below and summarized his main points. But I’ve also included insights of my own on ways to be heard and respected in more casual settings.

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7 Warning Signs That You’re A Boring Conversationalist

BoringHow can you tell if you’re boring someone to tears in a conversation?

  • Maybe you notice them looking everywhere but at you
  • Maybe their tone of voice screams “I’d rather be anywhere else right now”
  • Maybe they fall asleep on the front of a ship while you’re discussing the cosmos


Just me?


But are you really boring people in your conversations or just imagining it? How can you tell? And how can you be more engaging and interesting instead?

Here are 7 unexpected boredom-inducing warning signs to look out for in YOUR conversations. If you’re doing one or more of these, it’s very likely people are leaving chats with you wishing they could have those minutes of their life back.

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The Unexpected Ingredient that Forges Deep Genuine Friendships

Lonely No FriendsBack in my early college days, I was very lonely.

I wasn’t popular in high school and starting fresh with new people was hard. I remember how impossible it seemed to impress strangers enough on campus to be liked and make friends.

Luckily, I had a friend in my roommate. He had his issues with shyness too. But for some reason we suffered through our social isolation separately, even though we lived in the same apartment. We just didn’t talk about it much.

Each too ashamed I guess.

Eventually, I got fed up being ignored socially and started looking for ways to impress strangers and “be liked” by them. And I was sort of successful. I got to the point where I could stand out more and make a good first impression.

This was nice, but for years I still felt cursed. Because even though I could make a good first impression, I was seldom able to turn that into deeper friendships. It’s like I was stuck in acquaintance mode with everyone I met. There was always someone else they connected with more than me.

What I eventually discovered is, I wasn’t doing the ONE thing most important to form friendships.

Are you missing out on friendships too by neglecting this one critical element?

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Reader Question Answered: How to Talk to Strangers Confidently Without Practicing

A member of my Conversation Tips Newsletter recently emailed me the following two questions:

  1. How do you talk to someone you don’t know?
  2. How do you build your confidence, other than practicing talking (because sometimes you don’t have time, or you’ve tried and failed enough)

These are two questions I get asked often. So I’ve included my response below in the hopes it might help you too.

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How to Answer ‘What Do You Do’ When You Hate Your Job (Or Don’t Have One)

what do you do hate jobDo you find it annoying when people ask what you do for a living?

It can seem so arrogant of them right? Like they’re asking just so they can judge you.

After all…

  • You may not like what you do for a living
  • You may be between jobs
  • You may have a job that isn’t all that lucrative or ‘impressive”

It can be a touchy subject. So it’d be great if people would just get the memo and stop asking that question altogether.

But the truth is, they won’t.

So how do you make the most of it?

Is there a way to answer that gets people off your back about your job status while keeping the interaction light and positive?

I believe there is and I’ll show you how I did it in this post.

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The 1 Night That Makes Talking to Strangers in Bars 13 x Easier

Practice Conversation SkillsThrough talking to many shy and socially insecure people, there’s a cruel irony I’ve discovered.

Many crave the ability to talk to the “cool” people in places like bars, clubs or on the street. But unfortunately, talking to those people in those places feels impossible.

“Popular people” are generally more “picky” and dismissive in those types of “cold” social settings. And the fact rejection seems more likely to you makes these the hardest places to engage strangers if you aren’t already confident and skilled socially.

Well, if you’ve read any of my articles before, you know I advocate practicing your conversation skills repeatedly. This grows your skills AND confidence so you gradually expand your comfort zone.

But how can you practice in places like bars when it’s so hard to even start talking to people there?

Well, what if it could be easy, even for just one night out of the year? What if there was a way for even insecure people to easily start conversations in these intimidating yet alluring places?

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The Aristotle Guide to Make Friends and Influence People

make friendsAristotle was the man.

He figured out a lot about the human condition before modern psychology (or modern anything for that matter.) Some of his ideas still permeate our modern culture in areas like marketing and the science of persuasion.

In fact, I was watching a video the other day (included below) about his 3 means of persuasion. His argument was, to influence people efficiently, you must include all three of these elements.

What I realized is the three elements also apply to make friends. They serve as a handy guide to get past many sticking points in the friendship building process.
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Why Conversation is Still Hard Even Though You’ve Learned What to Do

Why Conversation is Still HardFor a long time, I had this problem…

I’d research what charming, well-liked people did to be so successful socially. But once I knew what to do, I’d often feel even more anxious and incompetent.

I’d go out to use what I’d learned but then chicken out and say nothing. Either that or I’d act so awkward, people just thought I was weird. In the end, I still didn’t accomplish what I wanted, which was to connect.

I began to wonder if something was just wrong with me. I mean, I knew what to do, but I couldn’t pull it off. It was like all the advice that worked for the successful people didn’t work for me.

Have you experienced something like this too?

What gives?

Well, here’s what I figured out about why this happens and how to get past it.
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