What does a 2:1 ratio have to do with great conversations?


Look, conversation is simple.

Okay not really, but when you break conversation down, it’s actually a very small set of patterns.

Here is almost every conversation broken down:

1. A question or salutation is spoken.
2. You either answer the question and focus on yourself, or focus on the other person and ask them a question.

And that’s it. A conversation boils down to asking questions to other people, or revealing more about yourself so that others will ask questions about you.

You may recall that I tend to harp on the importance of showing interest and curiosity in your conversation partner… which gives rise to the single ratio that can change your conversations.

Maintain a 2:1 questions asked:questions answered ratio in conversation to avoid running out of things to say!

This means that for every statement directed towards you in conversation, you are twice as likely to ask a question about that person and dig deeper into their thoughts and motivations as you are to shift the direction to yourself.

It’s not necessary to be strict on this, but it’s a helpful guideline and will prevent you from becoming a windbag or missing the emotional lead that your conversation partner is trying to convey. If you find that you are having trouble sticking to it, you just may have some bad conversational habits that you need to change!

In fact, more people find that they skew too far in one direction as opposed to the other, and can easily diagnose why their conversations don’t go the way they want them to with this 2:1 ratio exercise…

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