#310: Patti DeNucci on How to Enjoy Better Conversations

Throughout modern history, conversation has been at the heart of human progress. The art of having good conversation is something most people valued.

Coming from a Hispanic family, conversation was always at the heart of most of what we did growing up. We’re talking deep, lively conversations at every family gathering about anything under the sun, including politics, religion, current events and what’s happening in our lives.

But it seems like over the past 20 years, more and more people aren’t valuing the skill of good conversation like they used to. And that’s too bad, because the ability to engage in and lead good conversations is a critical business and life skill.

My guest today is an expert in this topic. Her name is Patti DeNucci, and she’s the author of the excellent book The Intentional Networker and the upcoming book More Than Just Talk: The Essential Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Enjoy Better Conversations.

I’ve known Patti for over 10 years. As you’ll quickly see she’s an excellent conversationalist and a true pro on this topic. And in our conversation we dive into how you can become better at conversation—regardless of whether you’re introverted, shy, or not really fond of talking to people you don’t know.

This is a skill anyone can develop with the right strategies, techniques and practice. Not only will it help you in your business, but also in your personal life.

So with that, I hope you enjoy our conversation.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts.

(11:42): How do we kind of turn things around in a way that’s going to make the conversation more productive?

Let’s say you’re at a specific professional event and you’re having a conversation with somebody and they’re either talking too much, or you don’t like the energy.

You can sit there for a while and be polite, and then at some point you can say, you know what? Please forgive me. I see my friend over there and I promised her I would go say hi.

Let’s say you have a reason that you do want to keep talking to this person, but the topic has gone.

You can manage the conversation and shift the conversation by saying, Hey, let’s talk about something else for just a minute and you can do it in a smooth way.

(15:48): Let’s say clients, you go into a conversation and you feel it’s not abusive, but you were not expecting this negative conversation.

I think sometimes we have to just be honest and say, wow, I was not expecting this and you may have to say, I’m not sure how to process this yet. I need to have some time to think about it.

I think you can always ask for time to think about something.

(19:55): One of the things you talk about, and I love this – is getting to a place where you can have conversations with authenticity,  ease and confidence.

I know that there’s no easy hack for that but what are some easy things people can do to start moving in that direction?

Authenticity – is about knowing what you are interested in and what do you need to be learning for your career to get better at what you do for your business.

Ease – just assume you’re going to have a great time and that takes a while to get there

Confidence – practice is great, the more you do it – the better it gets.

(34:59): You just mentioned listening. I know you’re really big on that. A lot of people feel like you got to have the gift of gab when really what you have to have is the gift of listening. Can you speak to that a little bit?

I think that’s great to be comfortable talking to anybody about anything. But if you’re not in turn doing your share of the listening, then it’s kind of gone out of control.

(41:00): I’m going to throw an interesting question at you. If you could somehow call your past self 10 years ago and you had some advice about this topic – what would you tell your past self?

Work with the right person. Don’t ever think you know, everything about a topic.

(42:59): What would you say to your past self about conversation since you’ve learned so much over the past 10 years?

Conversations are what create a lot of the goodness in your life personally and professionally.

Tell me more about where listeners can learn about your book.




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