People Think You’re So Smart When They Do All the Talking

People Think You Are Smart When They Do All the Talking

Photo by Stuart Miles |

Did you ever walk away from a conversation thinking you just met a really smart, neat person, only to realize you did all the talking? I think we all have, at one time or another. What’s up? What do these people do to make us think they are so smart? They simply listen, that’s all, and we love them for it.

People who insist on talking are self-important and self-important people are stupid.

They may be book smart, but they are not street smart.

When you insist that I find you important, you are telling me loud and clear that I am not important. And that’s not a smart thing to do. It’s far smarter to listen.

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To be a great conversationalist is to be a great listener.

Listening is more important than speaking if your goal is to be engaging. Abraham Lincoln knew this. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

If you listen to me; if you smile and nod and make eye contact, I will assume you agree with what I am saying. If you agree with me, you must be smart. So goes conventional wisdom.

When mom and dad leave your office after the first visit, do you think for a moment that they discuss risk-adjusted performance?  Do you suppose they get in the car and kick around portfolio optimization?

Dad asks mom far more basic questions. “Well, what do you think? Do you like her?

You want mom to say she both likes you and trusts you.

What did you like about her?” dad asks. “I don’t know. I just like her. She listened to us like she really cares.

You just got an ‘A’ on the final exam.

People who are great conversationalists make the conversation about the other person.

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To use Jeff Haden’s phrase, they drop the power pose. They are honored to meet you. They genuinely like you. They cast a spell on you. And you love it. Just like people will love it when you cast a spell on them.

Only three things must take place for you to get a new client.

That person must like you, trust you and think you are smart. That’s it. Don’t make this business more complicated than it is.

If you want someone to dislike you right off the bat, talk too much. Hog the spotlight. Make it all about you. Don’t ask any questions. Don’t listen. Be cocksure. Have no doubts whatsoever. Show them how smart you are.

On the other hand, if you want someone to like you and think you are smart, let him talk. Being smart is all about applying information in a practical way. But before you can apply the information, you have to get the information.

To listen is to learn. The person you are trying to win over knows his financial situation, you don’t. He or she will not be real impressed if you start rattling off suggestions before you understand his situation. He will think you are a fool for doing so.

If you ask the right questions and listen carefully for the answers, he will think you are smart for doing so. Pretty simple. Talk and lose the account or listen and get the account.

It’s a smart person who asks a question and waits for an answer.

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