I feel a little guilty about using the word “hack” in the title of this post, mostly because the idea that I want to share with you feels like quite a bit more than a hack. But, you know, I have to keep people interested in my blog post titles. A hack sounds way more intriguing and simple than a “mindset shift” or a “technique”. Also, it is a fairly simple trick that can have massive results in your day-to-day interactions with It is a hack in that it’s simple and easy to implement in your life!
Okay, enough babbling on about the title of this post, let’s get to the meat and potatoes!
Why Your Conversations Are Suffering
For a long time before discovering this technique, I was not the best conversationalist. Like…at all. I often found myself running out of things to say in conversations. I found myself cutting people off when they were in the middle of sharing something. I found myself drifting from 2 minute conversation to 2 minute conversation at a party or event, rarely having conversations of depth or weight.
Why was this happening? For one simple reason: I was thinking of what to say next instead of listening and being present in the conversation.
This was literally the root of all my problems in conversations. It was the reason that conversations felt so tiring – my mind was spinning a mile a minute trying to come up with what to say next! It was the reason that I was cutting people off, because I wasn’t even listening to what they were saying! It was the reason that I ran out of things to say – because I was thinking way too hard about things to say!
If you find yourself running into similar problems when talking to people, it’s likely because your concentration is on the thoughts running around in your brain rather than the words you’re exchanging with the person in front of you.
This overthinking and lack of being in the moment are killing your ability to have great conversations!
I took this problem to my therapist and she gave me some of the best guidance that I’ve ever received on this topic. I’ve told other people what she told me and they’ve found it to be extremely effective in improving their own conversations.
Here’s the Conversation Hack
Okay! When you’re in a conversation, here’s what you want to do:
- Listen with your complete attention to what the other person is saying. Make solid eye contact and make your fullest attempt to connect with the emotion and experience behind their words.
- When you find yourself thinking of what to say, bring yourself back to the person and what they’re saying. This is crucial. Thinking of what to say next is the great killer of conversations, and we want to avoid that at all costs.
- This is the most important step: When they’re fully done speaking, pause. Silence is okay. You don’t need to say something immediately after they utter their last syllable.
- In that pause, what to say next will naturally come to you. This is your intuition telling you what to say. Just say what comes to mind in that moment. No amount of thinking will lead to you saying the “right thing”. Whatever you come up with in that moment is the right thing.
You may find this technique a little scary. Not thinking of what to say? Saying the first thing that comes to mind? God, that sounds terrifying on the surface. But once you start doing this in conversations, you will find yourself connecting with your conversation partner on a whole new level. You will begin to trust your conversation intuition. Conversations will become less tiring because you’re no longer scrambling for something to say the entire time. The things you say will carry more value to the other person because you’ve actually listened to what they’re saying and taken the time to come up with an honest response.
I challenge you to begin trying this hack in your every day conversations. Listen. Bring yourself back to the conversation when you start overthinking. Pause when they’re done speaking. Say what feels right in that moment. I think you’ll find that this takes a lot of stress and discomfort out of social situations…at least it did for me.
Thanks for reading!