How to talk to anyone

“How to talk to anyone” by Leil Lowndes contains 92 little tricks for big success in relationships.

The book starts off by explaining the fact that Dale Carnegie’s book “How to win friends and influence people” does not longer apply to the modern world. As much as it is a precious information tool, Carnegie’s book has a major flaw: it tells us what to do in order to influence those around us but not how to do it. What’s the formula to apply to get the results he professes.

Leil has gathered information from all over the world, from successful people, taking things out of context and analyzing them, and putting them back together in a way that can help us move a step closer to making a pleasant and lasting impression on the people around us.


 You have only ten seconds to show you’re somebody


In a fast-paced information over-load world, people around you have only a couple of seconds to get a mental picture of who you are. Your very essence is evident in your appearance, your posture, and the way you move. When people see you, they get a mental snapshot of you. After that, they move on with their busy life. That mental picture will stay with them long after you’re “out of sight”.

The way you look and the way you move speaks volumes about your personality. Chris Voss in “Never Split the Difference” speaks about the 7/38/55 rule regarding the three communication components.

7% – what you’re saying

38% – the tonality of your voice, meaning the way you deliver your message

55% – body language

This means that what you say is subservient to the way you say it and those two are nothing compared to your body language.

Before you are able to make a rational thought about someone, you use your sixth sense as Evy Pompouras describes it in “Becoming bullet proof” to categorize the people you meet.

If you want to portray confidence, just give somebody a smile. a heads-up, a direct gaze, and a great posture.

The flooding smile


Even though Dale Carnegie’s book is not so well thought of, he talks about what influence a simple smile can have on us.

He describes the dog as being the best people character judge in the world. Without an ounce of effort, the dog is the only being who is happy to see you and manages to make you feel important and unique.

After all, isn’t that what we all want?

Don’t be quick to give a smile but take a few moments to take in the person’s face and give the warmest smile as it were only for the other person intended.

It goes without saying that, at times, it might be dangerous coming from a woman to a man. However, choose your moments wisely. Be sincere about it. Avoid flirting. It can only lead to complications. If the other person can’t tell the difference, then be reserved with your smile for the rest of your encounter with the other party.

Great eye contact can be a game-changer. However, be careful and study the culture and the customs of the country you are traveling to. Some cultures take concentrated eye contact as threatening or disrespectful.

How do you like me so far?

When we meet someone new, we know, even if we’re not showing it, how they are reacting or not reacting to our presence.

Questions go through our head, wondering whether the other person:

  • Looks at us
  • Smile
  • Leans towards us
  • Somehow recognizes how wonderful and special we are

If the answer is positive, we like that person. We think they have good taste. If, on the other hand, the reaction is negative, we don’t hold them in high regard.

The moment you meet somebody new, make up your mind to make the other person like you. Give them the best treatment you are capable of.

The moment you are introduced, give a warm smile. Give the other person your undivided attention. Turn your body in their direction to welcome the meeting. If our words say we are delighted to meet them, but our body is turned away, the others will perceive the message of your body and ignore your words. Everything you do has a meaning to the other person. Just make sure the meaning you want to convey is the appropriate one.

The secret to making people like you

Zig Ziglar once said: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them”.

Our body is a broadcasting station, giving off signals 24/7.

Remember Shakespeare’s, Julius Caesar? He said of Cassius, he “has a lean and hungry look – he thinks too much – such men are dangerous”.

The same goes for our brains. They become lean. And hungry. As a result, we think too much instead of responding with candid, unselfconscious friendliness. Such actions are dangerous to impeding friendship, love, or commerce.

If we are to be treated nicely, we must make an effort and be the first to initiate the encounter. Don’t leave anything to chance.

In order to make that possible, we could imagine the new person we are meeting is an old friend. Somebody who hasn’t been in our lives for a long time but recently came back.

The joyful experience starts a remarkable chain reaction in our body from the subconscious softening of our eyebrows to the positioning of our toes – and everything in between.

This is called the “Hello old friend” technique. The secret is that when you act as though you like someone, you start to really like them.

Start with small talk and work your way from there


After meeting somebody new, you need to break the ice. You cannot just stand there, hoping they would start the conversation.

Make small talk. Even though people resent it, the idea is to make the other person feel comfortable.

Evy Pompouras, in her “Becoming bullet proof” explains small talk as the method to establish the baseline. Before an interview, Evy would ask the other person simple questions. The idea is to make the other person comfortable. This was only possible by asking innocent, neutral questions, to identify the person’s baseline. After a while, while the interview advanced, she could, then, pick up on signs when the other person was hiding something or not being honest.

Small talk is not about the facts or words. It’s about putting people at ease. The main goal is to match your listener’s mood. If only for a sentence or two. Think of rhythm.

And remember, nothing beats sincerity and passion. Whatever you say, you have to mean it. Your lack of sincerity will be perceived and the result will be the opposite.

Fear not what your first words should be. 80% of your listeners are more attentive to your tone and body language. Almost anything you say at first is fine.

Story after story to a better you

Leil’s stories range from the moment we make our first encounter with somebody new till the moment we build strong relationships with those around us. The reason is simple. Nobody can make it alone in this world.

Whether we’re talking about a job pursuit, a personal relationship, or friendships. We are social beings and getting close to people should be a sincere act. The idea is not to take the lessons and apply them as they are delivered. But to take them in and adapt them to our own personality.

One core ingredient to a successful relationship of any kind is your interest in other people. That should be our main focus.

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