How to Talk to Anyone (1999) is a social skills book redacted as a collection of 92 conversation and social skills.
Different people at different levels of interpersonal skills from beginner to advanced may find something in Leil Lowndes’ list of techniques.
- Successful people use Emotional Prediction (EP): anticipating someone else’s feelings and empathizing with them
- Don’t make excuses (if you’re late at a meeting), explain your circumstances later on “naturally”
- Build all your communication around “YOU”
About The Author: Leil Lowndes figures as “psychologist” in the new “Google card search result”, but I could not find any source to corroborate her educational background.
She certainly is a best-selling author though and a well-known figure in the “people’s skills” book circuit.
Part I: How to Intrigue Everyone Without Saying a Word
- SMILE SLOWLY – WITH A SECOND DELAY
Don’t flash an immediate smile when you greet someone, as though as anyone who walked into your life would be the beneficiary.
Instead, look at their face for a second. Pause. Soak in their persona. And then let a big, warm, responsive smile flood your face and overflow into your eyes.
The split-second delay convinces people your flooding smile is genuine and only for them.
- EYES – Epoxy Eyes
You can look at one person even while another person is speaking. This conveys a powerful “I care, I like you” sensation.
To soften the edge you can still look at the speaker most of the time but go back to the target when the speaker has just finished a point.
- BIG BABY PIVOT (ON INTROS)
When you get introduced, turn your body fully towards the new person and smile.
- HELLO OLD FRIEND
Treat someone you’ve just met as an old friend.
My Note: this is a very good technique and will make your whole body language follow naturally.
Visualize and imagine yourself as a very important person. That way all your verbals will fall into place automatically.
My Note: this is the same suggestion Jeanne Martinet in The Art of Mingling. It’s very useful, just make sure you don’t come across as stuck up.
Part 2: Small Talk
If a convo is dying and you want to let it continue without much effort, repeat their last words.
Her “and then I went to see match and it was amazing”
You “see the match?”
Her “yes, bla bla bla”
To get a bargain, learn the lingo of the sellers: it will make you sound like an insider
- ASK ABOUT LAST FEW HOURS
To get a new acquaintance talking, ask about her day, preferably about the last 5-6h.
She’ll love it because it’s so close to her experience.
- DONT ASK WHAT DO YOU DO
Ask “how do you spend most of your time”.
Part 3: How to Talk Like a VIP
- LET THEM FINISH
Don’t jump in with “me too” which seems over-excited. Let them finish first instead, and the longer you wait to share your commonality, the more impressive it will sound.
This is the opposite of what Boothman suggests in “How to Make Someone Love You“. I say it depends. If you want to sound excited or go along with an overly excited mood, jump in. If you want to seem calmer and more powerful, wait.
- HOW TO CHANGE TOPIC
Pick up on something -thought, phrase, or also a single word- the speaker said. Repeat it or rephrase it and then relate it to what you want to say.
Do you want to talk about a recent movie you saw, or about horseback riding but they’re talking about the weather?
In your first sentence allude to rain and then connect to your desired topic.
Her: On rainy weekends, I usually go to a movie. In fact, just last week I saw one called..
You: I sure hope it doesn’t rain next Saturday because I have my next horse riding lesson..
You: I pray it does rain next weekend so rather than taking the missus shopping I’ll have an excuse to stay home and work on the new rec room..
- HEAR PEOPLE OUT
Listen to people and let them finish before you get to the facts and ask questions
- Comm YOU Nicate
How to Talk to Anyone recommends that readers start every appropriate sentence with “you”, it immediately grabs your listener’s attention.
“you look great in that suit“
rather than “I think that suit looks great”.
Rather than “there’s this great Italian restaurant, do you wanna try it with me?” say ”
There’s this great Italian restaurant, YOU will love it, wanna try it with me this evening?“.
In an email, “I really enjoyed myself at the party” becomes “You really threw a great party the other night“.
You save people the step to translate it in their head “hmmm he says it’s great, but will I like it?”
Part 4: How to be an Insider in Any Crowd
- WAVE AT PEOPLE WHEN ENTERING A PARTY
When entering a party in a place where you don’t know anybody, just wave at the space between people and smile.
Or wave at someone you think you like: people will think you are super popular and will later gravitate around you.
Hillary Clinton was using this technique and it often looked very unnatural.
- SCRAMBLE THERAPY
Do something new and different, try many things out. Just doing something will give you 80% of the words and stories you need to relate to anyone who’s an expert/professional in that field
Part 5: How to Sound Like You’re Two Peas in a Pond
- FULL EMPATHIZERS
When someone is talking to you don’t just nod or say “uhu”, use full sentences. Such as “oh that’s a lovely thing to say
- ASK WHAT THEY’D LIKE ON THEIR TOMBSTONE
Ask what they’d like written on their tombstone (or what they love the most about them) and then tell them you appreciate them for exactly that quality they’d like engraved.
it’s easy to make this one an awkward moment. You need a bit more rapport and serious talk or you’ll across as a weirdo.
- ECHOING AND MIMICKING
Notice the words they use, and use the same ones. Match their speaking speed and tempo as well.
Part 6: Praise VS Flattery
- CARRY GOOD NEWS
Most people revel in bad news and gossip, but as also the 48 Laws of Power say, people associate us with what we say and talk about. Jump on good news and share good news instead
- KILLER COMPLIMENT
Search for one attractive and very unique quality they have and, at the end of the conversation, mention their name, look at them in the eyes, and deliver it.
Part 7: Direct Dial Their Heart
- SOUND CLOSER ON PHONE
Answer the phone with a neutral tone, and when you realize it’s a friend of yours immediately warm up ( similar to rewarding them after you got to know them).
On the phone, it’s harder to convey warm feelings, so it’s a good idea to use their name as often as possible -“name shower”-
Part 8: Work a Room Like a Politician
- GO EARLY
Similar advice I read in other Leil Lowndes books: if you don’t know anyone go early and you will small circle of early birds by the time the party swells.
Remember and then refer to people’s minor and major events in their lives.
En.: you keep a file and note down people’s information. I do so.
- DROP “I’LL BE HONEST WITH YOU“
Avoid sentences like “I’ll be honest with you”, “frankly” or “I will tell you the truth”: people will suspect all the rest you’ve been saying wasn’t true.
Part 9: Break the Glass Ceiling
- CREATE SAFE HAVENS
Leil Lowndes righteously warns against mentioning business when you bump into someone by accident. That’s not the right time for that and they will respect you for giving them their space.
- SEE NO BLOOPERS HEAR NO BLOOPERS
Pretend nothing’s happened when someone makes a mistake.
If coffee is spilled, keep talking while you drain it with a napkin. If a waiter spills your order, make it nothing.
- BUTTERCUP TO SUPERVISORS – how to get great service
When there’s someone whose service you value, make a compliment, ask who the supervisor is, and then send a letter-mail to the supervisor.
- LEAD THE LISTENERS – be the first to applaud
Be the first one to applaud or congratulate the person giving a speech you agree with. Lead the crowd into acceptance.
Leil Lowndes Power Moves Tips
This is a collection from all that I’ve read from Leil Lowndes, not necessarily from “How to Talk to Anyone” and that seems very befitting to the spirit of this website:
- SIT TO THE RIGHT
Sit on the right side of the most powerful person in the room.
Men are uncomfortable sitting where they don’t see the door and want “their woman” to be on their right while they put a friend to the left.
- HIGHEST SEATING
“How to Talk to Anyone” makes no reference to the pope but recommends choosing the highest seating in the room.
The highest chair is more important than being at the right of the host.
An example of a businessman who used to screw down all the chairs in the meeting room except his, so he’d sit the highest.
- NOD UP – NOT DOWN
When you agree with someone you know by lowering your chin.
Do the opposite, move your chin upwards instead. But be aware of blending it with warm body gestures or it can come across as arrogant (see McGregor using the Nod Up:
- IF YOU’RE LATE – DON’T MAKE EXCUSES walking in
If you’re late to a meeting, don’t demean yourself with an excuse as soon as you walk in but find an unflustered way to allude honestly at the problem you had later on.
You will come across as sincere and secure and not obsessed with what other people think of you, two important big cats traits.
WHEN ACCUSED AND GUILTY
- Listen calmly until your accuser finishes and then say “I am glad you brought it up”.
- Proceed by saying “you are right” and repeat his accusation word for word. No ifs, buts, and however: those are the prefaces for excuses.
- Then, and only then, with no defensiveness, tell your reasoning. If no rationalization, tell what you have learned.
To add frosting to the cake, thank your accuser for the opportunity to tell him.
These are actually the two very best tips I got from another book by Leil Lowndes, “How to Instantly Connect with Anyone”.
When you hug a person you like and he/she pats you on the back, they are sending friendly signals. And unluckily that means there’s no sexual interest, try someone else, Romeo ;).
I do not pat, not even male friends. Not patting is not necessarily sexual and it’s much, much warmer. I have noticed indeed that people who pat and/or withdraw very quickly tend to be either homophobes or not very comfortable in their skin.
Indeed in my experience patting too obviously sends a message of distance and discomfort.
- EMOTIONAL PREDICTION
Emotional prediction is what differentiates the winners from the losers.
the CEO at the end of a difficult experiment tells the experimenter “glad that was over, it must have not been easy for you”.
Most people would have said, “That was difficult, I am glad it’s over”.
In a job interview: “I hope for you this is the last interview, you must have had a grueling long day“. When going out she added, “I guess your real work starts now“.
This is very powerful because quality people -and powerful people- take care of those around them. And that’s exactly what EP does for you.
I use it often and especially love it when you could easily brush someone off but instead EP them.
Packed restaurant and the waiter is swamped. He finally gets to you with bated breath:
Him: Sorry the delay sir, what would you like to drink?
You: All good, I can see it’s super packed, you must be going crazy
Boom, now you’re his favorite customer and you just made the world a little more caring and human place.
- Wrong about CEOs
Leil Lowndes describes the CEO as if it were obvious that the top man has the highest emotional intelligence.
But that’s not true. Data shows that CEOs have lower emotional intelligence.
Also, read Corporate Manipulations.
- All over the place “tricks” format
Lacking a focused topic it’s normal Leil Lowndes “tricks” tend to fall a bit all over the place.
And just as a note, the “little tricks” format can be dangerously misleading: if you want to get good at anything, drop the easy-fix mentality (John Maxwell).
- Quite Some common sense
There are, of course, quite a few known and common sense “little tricks” in How to Talk to Anyone, but on the other hand, they can serve as a refresher.
How to Talk to Anyone Review
“How to Talk to Anyone” is a lovely book and you can see Leil is a master socialite.
But she’s also very good at weaving all her tips in an entertaining, pleasurable narrative you will likely gobble up in a single session.
Some of the “little tricks” are either common sense or you’ll discard them right away -ie.: changing your answering machine’s message every day-.
Some others are not “little tricks” but fundamental elements of human relationships, but it won’t hurt you to listen to them in “short pill format”.
If you are reading this summary to improve your social skills make sure to also read my blog section on social power.
And if you enjoyed this summary please consider getting the book through this link and help me keep this website running: