+
upworthy
Education

Stanford expert shares the number one phrase that people who are good at small talk always use

This will make your next party a lot easier.

Stanford, communications, small talk

Some friends enjoying a polite conversation at a party.



Many people don’t like small talk because it forces them to have conversations about trivial topics such as the weather, what they saw on TV the night before, or their weekend plans. Other people don’t like it because it causes them anxiety to talk with someone they may not know well.

Either way, research shows that small talk actually is a big deal. Julia Korn at Forbes says that small talk enables us to find common ground and shared interests, build muscles to overcome social discomfort, and lays the groundwork for transitioning into more serious, deeper topics.

It also makes us feel good. Studies show that a quick exchange with a barista while getting coffee can result in feelings of belonging and increased happiness.


So, how can we get more out of small talk and make it more comfortable? Stanford lecturer, podcast host, and communication expert Matt Abrahams told CNBC that one small phrase does both, “Tell me more.” He learned the phrase's value by listening to his mother, who had “impressive interpersonal skills.”

“Her favorite phrase was ‘Tell me more,’ and it happens to be one that people who are good at small talk always use,” Abrahams wrote.

The Stanford expert says that the simple phrase works because it is a “support response” that encourages what the speaker is saying instead of being a “shift response” that brings the conversation back to you.

Suppose you’re talking to someone at a party who’s complaining about a lousy dinner they had at a local steakhouse. “The steak was overcooked, and the service was terrible,” they tell you. A proper support response could be, “Tell me more about the service” or “What else didn’t you like about the dinner?"

“Comments like these give your partner permission to expand on what they said or provide deeper insight,” Abrahams wrote.

On the other hand, a shift response that brings the conversation back to you would be something like, “I once had a bad dinner at a steakhouse…” and then you told that story. People who overuse the shift response are often seen as self-centered or the type of folks who have to make everything about themselves.

That’s a rather annoying personality trait that doesn’t make people a lot of friends or an enjoyable person to work with in the office.

Support responses such as “Tell me more” or “What happened next” are a great way to guarantee that you follow another proven conversation strategy, the 43:57 rule. A marketing whiz over at Gong.io took a deep dive into 25,537 sales calls with the help of AI and discovered a cool tidbit: sales went through the roof when the salesperson chatted 43% of the time and lent an ear for 57%. They've dubbed it the "43:57 rule."

Now, while this gem of wisdom came from business calls, think about our daily chats with friends. It's all about tuning in and showing you care about what the other person has to say. Everyone loves to feel heard and valued.

In the end, the trick to being a great conversationalist isn’t all about being witty, charming, or informed but simply knowing how to listen.


This article originally appeared on 10.5.23

Courtesy of Kisha Rose Woodhouse

Man surprises partner by performing haka alone at her graduation


Graduations can be emotional no matter if it's preschool, high school or college. Something about watching a loved one close one chapter to open a new one just does something to you. But sometimes people have a few more challenges getting across the stage that make it feel even sweeter.

One new mom, Kisha Rose Woodhouse, who goes by @kiisha.rose on TikTok, became pregnant and gave birth while finishing up her college degree. Clearly, determined to finish, Woodhouse walked across the stage at graduation with her baby on her hip. But that wasn't what got people all choked up while seeing her video, it was Woodhouse's partner who stood alone in the auditorium.

The man was visibly filled with pride from Woodhouse's accomplishments when he began doing the Tautoko, also known as the haka. Immediately the auditorium fell silent as the man's words and sharp movements filled the air. Seeing him perform such an emotional dance alone to honor his partner is enough to get just about anyone's eyes to water.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Exhausted mom posted a letter begging her husband for help. And then it went viral.

An open letter by Celeste Yvonne shows overwhelmed mothers how to ask for support.

Photo via Celeste Yvonne, used with permission.

Celeste Yvonne wrote a letter to her husband asking for help.

Taking care of a newborn baby is mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting. For the first four months (at least!), new parents have to dedicate every part of themselves to caring for this young life.

There's little time for self-care during this chaotic period, let alone a moment to be fully present with a partner.

A blogger who goes by the name Celeste Yvonne is the mother of a toddler and a newborn and wrote a revealing open letter to her husband asking for more help with their children. It's going viral because it paints a very real picture of what it feels like to be a mother who feels stuck doing everything.

Keep ReadingShow less


Time travel back to 1905.

Back in 1905, a book called "The Apples of New York" was published by the New York State Department of Agriculture. It featured hundreds of apple varieties of all shapes, colors, and sizes, including Thomas Jefferson's personal favorite, the Esopus Spitzenburg.






Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.


I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

These before-and-afters will make you question everything about how our economy works

You'd think it was some sort of natural disaster. Nope. Totally man-made.




Images via GooBingDetroit.

Yup. These images were taken only two years apart. And what you're seeing was not an accident.

When the economy crashed in 2008, it was because of shady financial practices like predatory lending and speculative investing, which is basically gambling, only the entire economy was at stake.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Instacart delivery person followed her instincts and ended up saving the life of a customer

"You're supposed to take a picture and leave, and I could not just leave."

Jessica Higgs had a sense that something wasn't right at a customer's house and her action saved his life.

One the more mysterious aspects of being human is our sense of intuition. This "sixth sense" isn't something we can see or measure, but many people have experienced it in some form or fashion. Maybe it comes as a strong feeling that something isn't right, or that we or someone else should or shouldn't do something. It can be hard to read—not every feeling we get is truly our intuition—but there are plenty of examples of people trusting their instincts and being glad they did.

One such story has gone viral on TikTok. Jessica Higgs, a mom who works as an Instacart grocery delivery person, shared a story in an emotional video that illustrates the importance of listening to that inner voice when it prompts you to make sure someone is OK.

"I just want to start this off by saying if you see something, say something," Higgs said.

Keep ReadingShow less