As many successful people in all walks of life have suggested, if you want to be the best you should learn from the best. I think it’s fair to consider Larry King one of the best when it comes to talking with or to other people. He has made a very long and successful career out of his ability to communicate effectively with other people. He has been successful in several areas of communications from public speaking and radio to television. He’s been in sports broadcasting and heated political debates.
In his book, How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere, Larry King shares several personal experiences that have shaped his view on communication including failures and bloopers along with successes. He talks about other people in the media and gives his take on why they were good, bad or otherwise in their communication efforts.
Most of us will never be in the public eye the way Larry King was, however, Larry gives great advice on how to make good conversation in personal settings as well, like family gatherings or Christmas parties, at work or in an interview. The book is filled with great speaking and conversational advice. I’ve listed several quotes below that I think are worth remembering.
“The basics of successful conversation:
- The right attitude
- Interest in the other person
- Openness about yourself”
Larry talks about each point in greater detail.
“Besides the willingness to work on it, you need at least two other ingredients to be a good conversationalist: a sincere interest in the other person and an openness to them about yourself.”
“Always remember this: People you’re talking to will enjoy the conversation more if they see you are presenting yourself as someone who’s enjoying it, too, whether you consider yourself their equal or not.”
“Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems.”
“The people we most enjoy talking to are ones who show empathy for us—who make clear they relate to what we’re feeling as well as what we’re saying.”
“Know what you’re selling; and once you’ve closed the deal—don’t keep selling.”
“Sell the advantages of the product, not the features of the product.”
“You’ll never sell any product that is as important as yourself, so you want to do it right.”
“Not only in your words, but in your appearance and body language, you must exude an air of success, not one of desperation. By acting as if you are negotiating from strength, you can gain the upper hand, even when your position is not a strong one.”
“Here’s what I look for in a potential guest:
- A passion for his or her work.
- The ability to explain that work clearly and in a way that our viewers will find interesting, something they find themselves wanting to know more about.
- A chip on the shoulder.
- A sense of humor, preferably self-deprecating.”
“Many leaders…have the self-assurance never to take themselves too seriously and not to stay too serious too long at a time about anything.”
“The best speakers, the best negotiators, the best people in any line of work, all commit mistakes. In baseball they even have a category of statistics for them—errors. So when you commit yours, don’t let it fluster you. Remember the old saying He who never makes a mistake seldom makes anything else.”
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