AEE 414: How to Find Your Superpower in English Conversation and in Life

English conversation superpower, how to keep a conversation going

Do you want to become awesome at English conversation?

Do you want to make it your superpower?

Today we’ll show you how to do it.

We’ll also add a bonus in today’s episode where we’ll talk about how you can identify what you’re really good at in life and build a life and a career around that, rather than trying to get better at skills that don’t come naturally to you.

Today we’ll read a question that we got from our listener from South Korea, here it is:

“Sometimes I have a hard time keeping the conversation going with people and I think it’s mostly because I have little to say when it comes to replying to others.

I try to come up with follow up questions but it doesn’t work. But when I listen to Lindsay interacting with guests it seems like she’s really cut out for the job. She seems to always have something to say. How can I talk like Lindsay?”

Soongjae, South Korea, AEE Listener

 

Lindsay’s formula for great conversation:

  • Collect facts about everything and store them for conversation later: To make good conversation it helps to know a little bit about a lot. Have a lot of information and cultural knowledge in your head. For example, I know from talking to friends that Austin, Texas has a great live music scene so when I meet someone from Austin, I will pull up that fact and see how it relates to that person. For example, “Oh I heard Austin has a great live music scene. Are you into live music?” You can build a lot of random facts if you travel a lot. If you can’t travel internationally then the key is watching the news, reading books, staying open to what is going on out in the world.

 

  • Make it about the other person: Be interested in the other person and listen well. It’s too easy to get caught up in our own heads and in our own world. If you’re not interested in that person then stop talking to them. Be “all ears.” That idioms means to listen well (in case you didn’t know!)

 

  • Find your own connection style: My connection style is digging for the person’s unique vision or their “why.” I always like to find out what motivates people and why they have chosen their hobbies or their career path. I like to find the reason or vision behind the person’s interests. But maybe you connect by using humor or by being animated. Maybe you use silence to build connection. If you love people then that’s another connection style. Focus on the fact that you just enjoy forming a new connection. When you find your connection style, grammar and vocabulary becomes much less relevant and all of a sudden, you are really communicating.

 

  • Treat everyone the same way: Don’t show that you’re intimidated by anyone. My friend Diego is from Ecuador. He can walk into a room and talk to anyone (native speakers or non-native speakers) and he’d use the same tone of voice that he uses with his friends. He’s respectful but he doesn’t give the impression that someone is above him. This has allowed him to build a career as an art curator in New York City.  He doesn’t get scared in these situations so he can build amazing connections. Be on the same level as everyone else. This may be hard if you come from different cultures especially if you are from a culture where there is a very hierarchical structure in place but see if you can implement this into your style in your own way.

 

 

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How can you find what you’re good at it?

On some level we all need to be able to build conversation skills.

But Lindsay is exceptionally good at conversation so she has built her career around this podcast and around teaching people how to communicate better.

She is trying to leverage her skills as much as possible.

If you don’t feel that conversation is one of your core natural talents then you don’t need to build a career that is based on it.

For example, don’t go into sales and marketing.

Don’t go into communications.

Instead, find out what you do well and build a career around that.

How can you figure out what you’re good at and build your career and life around it?

We have already talked about this with Laura Garnett when we talked about the Zone of Genius.

We also recommend using the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment to figure out what you’re natural talents and skills are.

“Your personality is your greatest differentiator.”

-Sally Hogshead

Here are some ways to find your natural skills:

  • Ask yourself: What did you do as a kid? What activities did you take part in? What did you enjoy most? What made the time pass fast? Michelle used to pretend to be a teacher and she would put on plays (performance) and now she works as as a performer on this podcast.

 

  • What skills did your parents reinforce? Lindsay’s parents reinforced verbal communication skills. What did your parents applaud or encourage you to cultivate. Whatever that is has probably become a deep skill of yours where you may be exceptional and not even know it.

 

  • What satisfies you deeply? For Michelle she feels a deep sense of relaxation around music. What is the activity that makes you feel peaceful? What feels natural to you? Find that activity and allow yourself to do more of it. You don’t have to get paid for it. Just do it a little bit more each day.

 

  • Step into your talent: There may be a moment where you can become a leader using this special talent or skill.  It may be a career opportunity or a chance to build an organization of some sort. Don’t be afraid to step into the spotlight at that time. You will be ready if you have followed the advice above.

 

So today we have shown you how to become better at conversation.

Everyone needs basic skills in this area.

At the same time, if conversation doesn’t feel natural to you then don’t build a career or a life around it.

Instead, go back and think about discovering your own “superpower” and what you do better than anyone else.

Build your career or hobbies or life around that.

 

Today let’s finish with a quote:

“Find your God-given talent, cherish it, refine it, and find a way to get paid for (or to help a lot of people with it)”

-Unknown

 

What’s your superpower?

Tell us in the comments!

 

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