We typically don’t think much about how we structure a conversation. We just sort of wing it and hope for the best. But my guest today argues that all conversations — even the small and mundane — can impact our ability to lead, influence, and connect, and ought to be approached with thoughtfulness and intention. 

His name is Daniel Stillman, he’s a consultant, author, and podcaster, and in his book Good Talk: How to Design Conversations That Matter, he draws on his background in design to show how we can use the principles of design thinking to improve the quality of our exchanges. Daniel and I kick off our discussion by unpacking the defaults of conversation people often fall back on. Daniel compares the structure of conversation to an operating system, and we turn to how we can improve this conversational OS, beginning with the way we invite people into a conversation with us, and why we shouldn’t just ask, “Can we talk?” We then get into how we can improve the “interface” of our conversations, by recognizing the influence that space and place have on them, and choosing the right environment for a particular dialogue. We end our conversation with the options you have for responding when it’s your turn to talk and how to deal with the gaffes we all make during conversations, and the feelings of regret that frequently follow.

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Show Highlights

  • The conversational defaults that may not be working for people
  • What to do if you’re the “fixer” type of conversationalist 
  • How to approach a hard conversation 
  • Making an honest invite to a conversation 
  • The ways we teach people to treat us 
  • How the space and the place affects our conversations 
  • The need to sometimes re-invite someone into a conversation 
  • How to elicit more from the people we’re conversing with 
  • Why you don’t need to have a hot take on everything 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Daniel


Daniel’s podcast

Daniel on Twitter

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The post Podcast #634: How to Design Conversations That Matter appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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