What if there were five words you could string together in almost any conversation – with loved ones and business associates alike – to increase relationality and productivity? Good news: those words exist, and coaches use them all the time! What are they? “Tell me more about that.”
With these five simple words, you invite the speaker to take the conversation to a deeper level and fill out the story with additional details. It’s hard to put a price tag on the additional information you’ll gain. But there’s another key benefit. If you do it right (not to pry but only out of genuine interest), while gaining info you’ll simultaneously make the other person feel important, cared about, and listened to.
Conversations often stall out because no one knows what else to say. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some ideas for how to apply this incredible, and incredibly simple, question.
1. Your spouse comes home from work and you ask him how his/her day was. The answer is a mere one word, “Fine.” But you want to know more! Try: “Tell me more about what you worked on today. I’m so interested to know!”
2. Your boss mentions in a meeting that he’s got some ideas for a new project, which, even though the team is already overloaded, will need to begin soon. Rather than responding first with panic, start with inquiry: “I’d be interested to hear more details on that.”
3. You’re mingling at a cocktail party and are hesitant to enter into more small talk that will inevitably hit a dead end (“What do you do for work?” “I’m in the IT business.” “Oh. Cool.” [Silence]). Imagine what a better conversation you could have if you came back with the open-ended question: “Oh, cool. Tell me more about what you do in the IT business.”
Becoming Interesting Yourself
Whether you ask it in short form (“Tell me more”) or use a longer variation (“I’d like to hear more about that. What else can you tell me about ____?”), this invitation to keep talking can be a game changer in any number of conversational settings. And if you’ve read Dale Carnegie’s classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, you’re already aware of this paradox: people feel like you’re interesting when you let them do most of the talking. That being the case, if you make the effort to begin using these five words in conversation, you’re likely to skyrocket to becoming one of the most interesting conversationalists your friends and colleagues ever encounter.
“Tell me more about that.” So simple, but so significant. Try it today and see what happens. Be sure to submit your favorite variation in the Comments section so we can all give it a shot!