The most important social skill EP3
One of the most important factors of Erik‘s business success is that he a great networker.
He’s good at creating exciting conversations where people open up and they quickly get to know each other.
In this episode, we will teach you the technique that he is using, breaking it down in examples, explaining how to use it and why it works.
September 18, 2020
The most important social skill EP3
One of the most important factors of Erik's business success is that he a great networker.
He's good at creating exciting conversations where people open up and they quickly get to know each other.
In this episode, we will teach you the technique that he is using, breaking it down in examples, explaining how to use it and why it works.
Today's episode has been split up in four topics:
- What's the beep beep technique?
- How to make every conversation interesting?
- How can you make someone excited to talk to you?
- Why does the beep beep technique work, what is the magic going on?
Today's episode is a personal development episode, where Erik Bergman and Emil Ekvardt explore topics about how to grow as a person.
We are both personal development junkies and spend many hours every week sharing our ideas and reading about new things. This episode is great for you who want to learn about our latest perspective. We share lots of personal stories, talk about how it applies in our lives, and where we have learned it from.
- In the first section, we are explaining the "beep beep technique", a way of asking questions and finding the most meaningful and interesting topics for both parties in a conversation. There isn't a magic formula of what specific questions to ask but there are several guidelines that you can use to get much better at conversations.
- In the second section, we use the beep-beep technique in several different examples. Showing you how it can be used to take the conversation to more exciting places and how you can avoid making common mistakes that make conversations flat and boring.
- In the third section, we are diving deeper into the beep beep technique and show you how you can use the tone of voice and choices of words from the person you are talking with to find the best ways of asking further questions.
- In the final section, we are breaking down the technique to see what is actually happening when we are using it. What are the different parts of the technique that makes it work and how can you apply it in your own life.
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[00:00:04] Find topics to talk about that you really care about. Be genuine, don't ask questions just to be polite.
[00:00:10] That is overdoing it to ask a question and you don't find a good follow up question that actually interests you. Switch the topic. Thai boxing is boring. Tricom relationships. If relationship doesn't interest you, ask about books, anything. You switch it up until you find something that you are curious about and that the other person is curious about.
[00:00:50] One of the most important factors in my business success is that I'm a great networker. I'm very good at creating exciting conversations with people, get them to open up and get to know each other quickly. And I do this by using a specific technique. And in this episode, we will teach you this technique and we will explain to you the magic behind it, why it works, give you a few examples and show you how you can use it as well.
[00:01:21] And what I'm really excited about is that we have reached part three of our series on conversations and listening, and I'm convinced that this would be the best episode yet. I'm really excited about the specific techniques we were getting into. And I am here with, as always, my good friend and the founder of Great.com, Erik Bergman. Great. It's a company that gave away all of its profits to help the environment. And Erik is a special guy because before he was 30, he made over 50 million euros when he founded the company Catina Media, a company that went from zero to 300 employees in just five years. And on the side of great his teaching personal development and entrepreneurship to his over 250000 Instagram followers.
[00:02:13] How are you, buddy? Oh, good, my friend.
[00:02:16] And as always, I'm here with my good friend Emil, who is the host of this podcast, as well as our other podcast, Great.com talks with. And he was the first one joining me in grades about two years ago. He is among the smartest people I've ever met in my creative sparring partner in content for this podcast, for Instagram, for blogs and everything around it. And on the side of this, he also runs personal development, coaching business. That's definitely worth checking out. How are you today, my good friend?
[00:02:50] I am excited. Oh, I love this. Yes. Like rubbing hands, getting ready for some heat.
[00:02:57] And if you're new here, maybe it's the first time you listen to this podcast or go with becoming great. Dotcom is to be the podcast in the world that gives you the most value per minute that you listen to us of any podcast in the entire world. And we plan to accomplish this by being very well structured. We spent a lot of time planning and preparing each episode so we don't go off topic or pointless stories to you. And we also have no advertisement. We get pretty annoyed when we hear advertisement in other podcasts. So the next time you might get annoyed as well. Think of our humble goal to be the podcast in the world that gives you the most value per minute that you listen. And today's episode is divided into four different topics. In the first topic, we are going to go through the technique that we are using to create interesting conversations that is called Eric the beep beep technique boom, the beep beep technique. In topic two, we are going to look at how can you use this technique to make sure every conversation you have is interesting. In topic three, we are going to look at how can we make people excited to talk with us? And in the fourth topic, we're going to round everything off and look at. What is the reason we're using the beep beep technique? What is the magic behind it all? So let's start with the first topic. What is the beep beep technique? Before we explain this BP technique, let's look a little bit about questions and why they are important, what happens if we don't ask questions in conversations or the image I get in my mind is a dinner conversation and everyone just try to fill up the empty space in the middle of the table. Everybody's just talking and telling their own stories. And I think this is pretty common. And the troubling thing is that it's so hard for anyone to get to say anything unless they also start speaking instead of asking questions.
[00:05:22] I can see that just getting the picture in my head when I'm having dinner and some people are just talking a lot and none of them is actually asking questions. They just kind of taking the word whenever there is an opportunity and there is no room to breathe in a conversation like that.
[00:05:42] Exactly. Now, imagine imagine that I never ask you any questions at all. What is the only way that you can get a chance to speak about things that you care about?
[00:05:52] It's to just start speaking whenever there is an end and the second and third dynamic is created right here. Exactly. So what's the purpose of asking questions then?
[00:06:06] I think exactly that to allow the other person to speak about things that they really care about, and that's for the person asking the questions and opportunity to get to know them to build trust. I know that you love this as a leadership technique. How are you thinking there?
[00:06:22] Yes, it's what's interesting is that it's easy to think that the person who talks the most in a conversation is the one who runs the conversation. And personally, I believe that it's the one who asks the question, who runs the conversation. That's the leader of how our conversation looks. And the person asks the best questions are the one who can make any conversation interesting, because if someone talks a lot of times, a lot of stories, that person is probably going to think it's interesting, but not necessarily the other people in the conversation. But if someone is really good at asking questions, you can steer the conversation to to find the topics which everyone involved or at least let's make it to people is easier. But both the topic that I'm the most interested in and the other person is the most interesting in. And that's what we're trying to accomplish by asking really good questions and the super duper cool beep beep technique.
[00:07:16] All right. So please explain what is this technique?
[00:07:19] So the beep beep technique.
[00:07:21] Let's start by explaining the name. Obviously, it's it's obvious why it's called the beep technique. No, it's probably not. So the beep beep technique comes from the idea that in conversations we're looking for the golden questions, like the best questions to ask. And we can see like going around with a metal detector on a beach looking for gold, like beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. And once you find the gold, just start digging there. So that's like the approach that we want to have in conversations. Why do we want to go around and want to look for gold? And we do this in in two stages where the first stage we call searching questions. So this is like when you decide what direction to go to on the beach, you don't really know what you're going to find anywhere. So you can go in any direction. And this can be very basic questions like what did you do last summer? How are you where did you grow up? What did you work with? It's a question that in itself is probably not going to get a very interesting answer, but it can open up to deeper and more meaningful conversations.
[00:08:29] You start to map out where the gold kind of could be exactly.
[00:08:33] You go somewhere and you start feeling this little metal detector vibrating in your hand and saying, hey, this is probably a good place. So the second stage of this is the digging questions and this is the questions don't ask when we have found an interesting part in the conversation when we found. An answer that said, OK, here's more things to find, and we do that by listening to the tone of voice that someone is using when they're saying something, we're listening to the choice of words they're using to describe something. And this will be clues and keys that help us to understand, hey, this is a good place to take.
[00:09:10] This is like the beep, beep, beep and where we can go deeper.
[00:09:16] They were saying pressingly spot on explanation of the BP and for you listening, we spend we try 20 metaphors before we came up with this metaphor to illustrate this concept. So if you like it and some say that in a comment, I would be very happy if it doesn't make any sense at all to I will start crying. Yeah, we put a lot of effort behind that one.
[00:09:42] So let's move on.
[00:09:44] Right. So let's move to the next topic and look at how we can use the BP technique to make every conversation interesting.
[00:10:00] Let's start by looking at one of the big mistakes that people do in conversations, and this is an example, when someone is not using the BP technique to give you some context of what this can be.
[00:10:13] So what what did you do this summer?
[00:10:17] I was spent quite a bit of time with my family at our summer house. I was reading a lot of books and that really makes me feel relaxed. So it was a relaxing summer.
[00:10:29] Your family. Do you have siblings? Yeah, I have a brother. OK, what's his name? Philip. How old is he? He's 13 now. I can't believe it. OK, where did he go to school? In Lucka.
[00:10:44] Ok, so let's let's stop there. What I was doing now is that I was just asking fact based questions. I didn't really have a direction. Asked what his name, what is what school. And I spoke about someone who wasn't even in this conversation, which makes it really hard for any of us to have a deep connection from here since that. Let's switch up this and use the same example, but using the BP technique and I'll explain why I'm doing certain things. So the first question, what did you do this summer is actually a searching question. That's pretty good. So what did you do this summer?
[00:11:24] I spent a lot of time with my family. I read a lot of books, and that really made me relaxed.
[00:11:32] Nice. OK, so you spent time with his family, you read books, and he felt relaxed so I could keep asking questions about his family and I could ask about his relationship with his family and stuff like that to take it a little bit deeper. And if I'm very curious about his family, I should go that way. Or I can ask about books because he read a lot of books and I like books. So that's something that could go in there. And it stated an emotion. He said that he was relaxed and that could open up some questions like, OK, isn't he usually relaxed? Is he stressed most of the time or what else does he do when he relaxes? So I can choose which topic here interests me the most. And since I like those, I'm going to take this to the direction of books and ask him what books did you read first cut me understand why is it important to choose a topic that you are interested in? Might be obvious, but OK, so a conversation is at its best when two people are interested in the things that you're talking about. If you want to get someone to just be excited themselves, you can always keep them on a topic they're excited about, but you're not really excited about it. It's going to show a bit and you're not going to have any fun. So you want to get good at finding the topics that the person you're talking to is the most excited about, but also you are the most excited about that.
[00:12:53] That makes sense.
[00:12:55] Yeah. And I like that you are having fun, because if I tell stuff and I can see that you're enjoying yourself, that's a very pleasant experience for me.
[00:13:02] Exactly. It helps both of us. And this is something that is easy to miss out on that either you go to a direction where you only ask a question about the things you care about or you go to question only ask about the other person cares about. But you want to keep this kind of infinite, curious mind. How can I be curious? And at the same time, you being curious, right?
[00:13:23] So back you had three options. Yeah. So I have these three options.
[00:13:27] And what I'm most interested in is in books. And I want to take the question about books to be about you as much as possible, because in general, everyone cares more about themselves than they care about anything else. So if I ask a question about the books here, like, OK, and what books did you read now opening up the like options of books that you can talk about and you will pick the book that you are most interested in, because that's the first thing that comes to mind, I guess.
[00:13:55] Right. So that's a news searching question, but within the topics of books.
[00:13:59] Exactly. So let's say we have figured out it starts beeping a little bit because I know that it's more exciting to talk about this in any direction at all. So I know the gold is somewhere in this direction, probably, but we haven't really started digging yet.
[00:14:13] So you asked me which book I have read this year. Yeah, I read three books.
[00:14:20] My favorite one was called King Aurier Magician Lover. It's about a Jungian due on male archetypes.
[00:14:27] Wow, that sounds fantastic.
[00:14:30] So here I could ask you about another book if that doesn't sound interesting to me or I could ask you why this book was the most interesting to you. I could ask what did you learn from this book? And now we start talking about you in this conflict, something that was obviously meaningful for you. And personally, I'm curious about why you like that book, because I've read it and I didn't really like it. So that's going to be an interesting angle in this. Like, OK, so what did you learn from this book?
[00:15:00] And I think a common question here is what was the book about and that's a fact question right here doesn't say so much about me.
[00:15:07] Exactly. Or did you like the book? And it can kind of stop there. That kind of kills. Exactly. You don't want to ask. That would be. So what was the book about? Would be a fact question. It doesn't really go towards you. And if you like the book, that's kind of a yes or no question. It kind of ends there. And you obviously already said that you enjoyed it. We want to pick that book when you start talking anyway. So it's important to not go those directions, but instead keep going with a beep, like, how can I take this about you and make it more emotional?
[00:15:44] Right. And you asked, what did you learn from the book?
[00:15:47] Well, the book for me was an inspiration. I think for every 15 minutes that I was reading the book, I spent four to five minutes visualizing these archetypes and visualizing how do I play these archetypes out in my life. Which ones? So am I connected to? Which ones do I have a problem with?
[00:16:10] Yeah. So let's let's stop this example here, because I think we can go on forever and talk about interesting books. But before we we move forward, what are some common mistakes that I could have done here in this in this conversation?
[00:16:24] I think the obvious one, again, if we tie back to what happens when you don't ask questions, let's say that I I started sharing that. I spent time with my family. I read books. If you just jump in there, maybe you're afraid no one is going to ask you questions. So you jump in and say, oh, I read five books this summer. I love this one.
[00:16:44] Yes, I could have taken the word kind of back instead of exploring you and why you were interested, I would have started talking about a book of my own and maybe some book I was interested in.
[00:16:54] Yeah, and it's an innocent intention in trying to connect and find common interests, but it can also take away the opportunity for the other person to get a chance to speak.
[00:17:06] I think a good way with being the person who asks the most questions is that you can take charge of finding something you are interested in while the other person is interested in it as well. But if you go ahead and start sharing your own story or your own books that you read, you don't even you don't really know if the other person is interested in it. So that's two different angles of the same thing.
[00:17:31] Yeah, if you just wait and wait for the other person to ask you a question, you know that you will only speak about things that they are actually interested in because they ask the question, if you're only asking questions you genuinely care about, answer and you win.
[00:17:45] Everyone wins.
[00:17:47] Yeah, so there's something more you want to add on this topic before we move on, let's let's move on.
[00:17:53] To topic number three, which is how can you make someone else excited to talk and open up to you?
[00:18:08] There are two very important clues to keep track of in a conversation to help yourself find what is the things that the other person cares the most about. The first one is the tone of voice you can hear. Do they sound really excited when they talk about something which they sound very sad or slow with it? When they change your tone of voice a lot, that's a beep, beep, beep. That tells you, hey, this is a good direction to go. This is something that's important to them. The other clue is the choice of words, preferably the emotional words that if they say I'm getting very excited or very happy or very frustrated, angry, those words are more or less always good to say, like, OK, why are you getting angry or how does that anger feel? Because it's something that they care about. That's why they're using those words. So let's take another example where you have to explain these things further. So why don't you ask me a searching question and we'll see where we end up. And please explain how you're thinking with the questions that you're asking.
[00:19:14] I would love to. OK, so if I'm meeting Eric, we haven't seen each other in a while. I would just start with a random searching question. Can I ask to get the ball rolling in the conversation? So I might say, OK, Eric, so what have you been up to lately?
[00:19:32] Haven't been up to anything unusual, actually. I've been training Thai boxing. I've been sweating in Malta, hiding away from the sun and working.
[00:19:44] Right, so here I have some options, I have he said nothing going on, he is in Malta, has been doing Thai boxing and he has been working. I could start a conversation about maybe the weather in Malta or ask about Thai boxing, but I'm actually not that interested in Thai boxing. So I think I'm just going to get a chance for take a chance for another one and say, OK, so how are things with you and Joanna, Erik's fiancee?
[00:20:15] Oh, it's actually it's it's very good at the moment. They feel that we've we've reached a new level together and had some very meaningful conversations that have been excited about, OK, so here I see a spark is in Eric's eyes when he's saying he reached a new level, meaningful conversations.
[00:20:35] And this I am very interested in. I want to get to know Eric's relationship. So I might ask about what has happened that have made you level up of.
[00:20:45] One big thing is that we're having a kid. So she's she's pregnant, which obviously changed a lot of things.
[00:20:53] It's hard to understand everything around it, but it's it brings us closer and it feels like we.
[00:21:02] We've been together for 10 years, but we've never had that much in common, and I'm very excited for the first time to get this is a real American johannah project for life.
[00:21:13] Wow. OK, I think we can stop because we could go deeper forever here. But I think we didn't plan for this. And I think this was a good example of what would have happened if I just would have kept asking questions of something that I'm actually not that interested. We probably would have been talking about Thai boxing right now instead of speaking of how Eric and Johanna feels closer than they ever have done before. And I hadn't really heard that story.
[00:21:39] Exactly. So what was your your guiding principle here on the on the second question, when you you choose to just switch direction and then you. You went what gave away my interest, what were you looking for in the in my answer out of my relationship?
[00:22:00] If you heard it maybe or if you can rewind this podcast. Listen, again, there was a different tone of voice in Eric's energy. In the first example, he was kind of a bit tired, just talking as usual. There was no excitement, nothing special was going on. It's hot in malls, but Thai boxing, but. Yeah, his tone of voice changed, you can you can tell that this was really meaningful for Eric.
[00:22:25] Yeah, I think you did a good, good call there, just switching the angle completely. And there isn't really. A set of questions you can ask that will always bring good, good answers, but I think asking about people's relationships is a good searching question in general, and we could touch upon a few others searching questions you kind of have as a guiding principle here. What would be some other searching questions to start with?
[00:22:58] Before I answer, I want to build on what you said with there, it's hard to have the magical question to open up a conversation, because if I'm in my head and I have preplanned a question, I cannot pay attention to the fact that Erik's tone of voice is changing, that his eyes are sparkling a little bit. So it's actually quite important, I would say, to not have too many preprepared questions.
[00:23:20] I agree. I think it's good for the like the searching questions, like, how is your relationship? That's an easy question to keep in mind, but it's not going to take the conversation to a very exciting place without more questions unless someone is a big talker and the same thing like what did you do last summer or this summer? It's a simple question that can lead somewhere to go in a direction and see what it starts beeping.
[00:23:45] Ok, so let's look even deeper on what is making the beep beep technique works so well. What is the magic behind? When I was 23 ish, my girlfriend has had just broken up with me after six years, and I'd also spent six pretty intense years in front of a computer all day playing poker. So let's say that my social skills wasn't the best and that I was really struggling when I tried to go out to parties and meet new women. And I was struggling because I was it wasn't only with women, it was with most people, actually, because I was struggling, because I was running out of things to say. And I often found that conversations ended up being boring. So to kind of solve this, I went on Google and I Googled, how can I ask interesting questions? And I got lists of questions and conversation starters. And Eric, how do you think that worked out for me?
[00:24:57] Tell me you were there.
[00:25:00] It was kind of was kind of swing and a miss. And sometimes I didn't get any response at all. Sometimes the other person resonated with a question.
[00:25:10] And when that happened, I imagined myself that it was thanks to the question, in what ways is it different to use a technique like the beep technique compared to just finding a list of questions to ask?
[00:25:22] I think the problem with prefixed questions is that if I ask you, what are you the most excited about, then that works really well if you are in an excited state. But if you're having a shitty day, that question might not work at all.
[00:25:36] And I can't know what state you're in unless I have warmed you up a little bit first, because what are you the most excited about would actually be a brilliant questions if I'm excited. And it would be a horrible question if I'm sad or just broken up with or anything.
[00:25:53] So it's not a good place to start.
[00:25:55] Exactly. So let's say you had started instead saying so, Eric, how are you doing lately as you start sharing that? I'm actually going through a tough time. Then we all know that. What are you the most excited about is the most horrible question you could ask, but we're kind of going ahead of ourselves.
[00:26:13] So I'm just assuming that any any list of questions like that, they actually are good, meaningful, deep questions, but they're all digging questions. And it's basically like having a great shovel to dig with. But unless you go and know where the gold is, you're not going to find gold anyway. So it's like giving someone a great shovel, but they don't have the metal detector to start and find the gold first.
[00:26:39] There was some impressive metaphor.
[00:26:41] I'm really, really happy with it.
[00:26:44] That was I'm impressed. OK, so would you elaborate on this method? What is the mindset here?
[00:26:53] So the mindset with a beep technique is to start by finding what is the other person interested in? As we said before, like if we direct the conversation to someplace where we know that they are interested and we know that because the tone of voice is changing the voice, the little the words are changing, then we know that they care about it and we know if we care about it because, well, we know if we care about it. So this way we can use this technique to find places where we know there is gold, they care about it, we care about it. And without this technique, you will just ask questions. Like you said, we might ask the fact these questions all the time. You might not go anywhere or knowing anything. So the whole point of the technique is to find the topics that we are both interested in and get to know each other deeper and find exciting conversations from there.
[00:27:49] And I wish I had a technique like this when I was struggling as a 23 year old, because even with the good questions and I would get a good response in the beginning of a conversation, at some point I was out of questions. Right. And then the conversation went boring again, because I didn't have this basic understanding of how to create an interesting conversation, because with this technique, there's infinity to talk about the thing.
[00:28:14] But this technique also helps you doing is to get into the conversations that is about a person like what did you learn about the book instead of what was the name of the book? What you know what's exciting in my life right now, it's my relationship, but actually my training is not that fun. So that's exciting in me. The training in itself is outside of me, but I'm excited about my relationship. It's going on within me. So you're getting the conversation to be about what's actually alive in us, which is usually emotions. At the end of the day, life is just a storm of emotions like that's all it is. It's just emotions all around us. So that's where the conversation is wants to be. And when we talk about those things, we get to know each other. We understand what triggers emotions in who and what emotions triggers in us. And I think that's.
[00:29:09] The gold is emotions, in a sense. Yeah.
[00:29:14] And that goal is very personal, things become. You've become connected quick to a person, and that usually happens only with people that are really close to you. So I guess what helps your networking? Like we mentioned in the beginning of this episode is that you can create a dynamic that a lot of people maybe only have with their close friends and their families.
[00:29:36] It's a very good point. And I quickly end up in.
[00:29:41] I quickly end up in a situation where they trust me and where I trust them, because we have spoken about the things you usually only speak to with your closest friends. We can end up there fighting on our first. We just happen to be next to each other on a dinner, somewhere in a conference, and that's where it goes.
[00:30:00] That happens often to me, just three or four questions. And we get into this really juicy topics. And then there is a feeling like, you know, the other person.
[00:30:08] So if you would sum up what was said in this episode, so on in two minutes, want to take away what we did?
[00:30:15] Ok, you're going to help us. Let's do it. Speedy, ask a lot of ask a lot of questions. Avoid speaking in statements, because if you speak in statements, then you don't know if the other person is actually interested in what you're saying.
[00:30:29] You go that asking a question is actually a good leadership thing. You are the one directing the conversation anywhere and you're taking the ownership of this conversation being interesting.
[00:30:40] You go, you find topics to talk about that you really care about. Be genuine, don't ask questions just to be polite. That is overdoing it. Yes.
[00:30:48] And if there is if you ask a question and you don't find a good follow up question that actually interests you, switch the topic. Thai boxing is boring. Try relationships. Its relationship doesn't interest you. Ask about books. Anything is switch it up until you find something that you are curious about and that the other person is curious about Shabangu.
[00:31:07] I think that was enough for summary. Now I like the little game.
[00:31:10] What is the final piece of advice you can give to our beloved viewers to treasure my beloved viewer, our beloved viewer and listeners and people who might just read this on a stone wall somewhere written down? The last piece of advice is when you're going to work or if you're going to school or wherever. Don't waste that time. Make sure you're listening to something that you are learning from. If you want to change your life, that's a great time to do it and listen to audiobooks or podcasts and preferably the Becoming Great Outcome podcast. And if you haven't heard all of our episodes yet, we have a long back catalog. We've done seventy five, 80 episodes or so now. So whenever you step into the car next time going to work or when you see the bus coming to pick you up or the train, pick up your phone, find one of our episodes and especially the two previous one in this series about how to have great conversations and become a great person listening that would have a big impact on your life, I promise. And if someone was to help us, what can they do that?
[00:32:13] Oh, the super best, super coolest thing you could do would be to press the subscribe button on your podcast app, because we're still a tiny, tiny podcast. But getting into top lists has to do with how many subscribers do you have compared to the amount of viewers that you have. And with your help, we can really compete and get into different lists.
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