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  • Writer's pictureDavid de Souza

'How to Talk to Anyone' - 80/20 Summary

Updated: Jan 8, 2022


Mental Models from the book:

'How to Talk to Anyone' can be summarised into 9 mental models:

1. Curiosity Instinct

  • When you introduce someone, add some hooks (such as a hobby or something interesting the person has done).

2. Ego

  • "You" is a powerful word and has many benefits including:

    1. It is cognitively easier for a person to process as they do not need to translate it from your perspective into theirs. They do not need to translate "Can I take Monday off" into "Can I do without this employee on Monday?

    2. Including "you" in a sentence triggers a person's pride response.

    3. Adding "you" to a compliment will amplify it. "I like your suit" doesn't sound as good as "I think you look good in that suit".

  • Use "You" to persuade:

    1. Instead of saying: "It is important that...." persuade them by saying: "You'll see the importance of

    2. Instead of saying: "The results will be..." tell them: "You'll see the results when you....."

    3. Instead of saying: "I can't find the train station' ask them: "Do you know the way to the train station?"

3. First Conclusion Bias

  • The way you look and the way you move will impact 80% of a person's first impression of you. Have:

    1. Good posture

    2. A confident smile

    3. A direct gaze

    4. Eye contact

  • 'Just as the first glimpse should please their eyes, your first utterance should delight their ears'.

4. Liking

  • When you act as if you like someone you start to really like them.

  • The way to get someone to like you is to show them that you like them.

5. Mise-en-place

  • It is guaranteed that someone will ask you: "Where are you from?" or "What do you do?". Prepare your response; add some hooks or a story to give the person something to work with.

6. Newton's 3rd Law: Action & Reaction

  • Listen for the subtle words, references, or phrases that people mention, it is likely they want to talk about those things.

7. Pareto Principle

  • You only need to know 50 words to have a respected vocabulary. Look up common words that you often use and find a more captivating word to use instead.

8. Relativity

  • Put people at ease by: Showing them you are similar and that you think they are OK.

9. Vividness Bias

  • Wear something different or remarkable to make it easier for people to start a conversation with you.


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