Basic Reciprocal Conversation Skills: Listening (Part 1 of 5)

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Through my professional work and personal life, I’ve witnessed countless social faux pas– and not necessarily from clients on the spectrum! It’s painful to see people struggling to hold a reciprocal (i.e., two-way) conversation. Just this past weekend, I saw a young man attempt to have a conversation with a young woman he was interested in, only to have her quickly lose interest in him and turn to someone else to talk to. Ouch!

Being able to hold a conversation with your love interest is essential. How else are you supposed to get to know them and build a relationship? And after all these years of observations, I’ve finally boiled having a reciprocal conversation down to five major things that need improvement. Rather than bombard you with everything at once, I’m making this a five part series so I can focus on one skill at at time (because each skill really is that important).

The first skill is…


It seems counterintuitive that the key to a great conversation is not talking, but listening is not just the absence of talking. It’s about really paying attention and hearing what the other person is saying. It seems so simple, yet I’ve seen so many failed conversations that stemmed from lack of listening.

Here are a few key points to listening, just in case you’re curious.

  • The reason why listening is so important, is that it shows your conversational partner that you are interested in them and care what he has to say…. and that’s exactly what you want to communicate to a love interest.
  • Asking the same question again within a conversation is a sure way to let the other person know you are not listening. Don’t repeat the same question within a conversation. Major turn off!
  • Non-verbals like making eye contact and facing your body towards your conversational partner convey listening. Even if you are listening to what someone is saying, if you’re facing away from her or looking elsewhere, she’ll think you aren’t listening or don’t care.

Next time, I’ll talk about the next essential skill, which (not coincidentally) builds on the skill of listening. Can you guess what it is? Stay tuned for the answer!

Recommend this content Basic Reciprocal Conversation Skills: Listening (Part 1 of 5)

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