What makes someone a brilliant conversationalist? Brilliant conversationalists engage others by asking excellent questions. You can improve the quality of all of your conversations, professional and personal, when you ask good questions and then listen, really listen, to the responses. This is also one of the best ways to get smarter.
Maybe you know of my brother Robert Fripp, the legendary guitarist? He’s one of Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time. You might not know that he’s also a thoughtful and erudite writer and speaker. In truth, Robert is one of the most brilliant people I know and he listens well. He’s said:
“We add to a conversation by listening. We add to a conversation by contributing. People who only speak and do not know how to listen give me headache and often make me ill.”
Along these same lines is this from my friend, consultant, speaker, and author, Alan Weiss:
“If you want to be regarded as a brilliant conversationalist, ask others questions.
If you want to be perceived as a smart business person, ask others about their business philosophy.
If you want to be associated with thought leadership, hang out with thought leaders and watch what they do.
The worst thing you can do is to try to prove you’re “the second smartest person in the room” by constantly citing your sources, credentials, and experiences.
Confident, bright, powerful people appear that way because they are content to listen to others, to prompt them to speak, and to analyze and learn in the process.
I may be an exception, but I’ve never been able to learn too much while I’m speaking.”
Alan is also among the most brilliant people I know.
Become a great presenter quickly, easily, and cost-effectively on your own schedule. I’m here for you 24/7 through Fripp Virtual Training.
“I wanted a super bowl-quality coach, and I was lucky to be introduced to Patricia Fripp. Her help in coaching and scripting was world class. With Patricia Fripp on your team, you can go places.”
– Don Yaeger, Long-Time Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated magazine, Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, New York Times Best-Selling Author
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Ask Brilliant Questions
Just a few of the many complimentary resources on Fripp.com to help you ask great questions:
- Ask Questions – The Secret of Conversation
- Speak to Create Understanding – Consider Your Audience’s Unspoken Questions
- How to Increase Sales by Asking Great Questions
- How to Make A Sale by Making Your Questions Count
- Using Power Questions to Deepen Your Relationships
Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.
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You are so right about listening, Patricia. It is an essential leadership communication skill. I remember long ago in my 20’s I decided at a party to get acquainted to people by listening. I had a “conversation” with a woman for 30 minutes in which I only listened and responded briefly to what she said. On parting, she told me I a was a great conversationalist!