In How to Talk to Anyone, Leil Lowndes, one of the world’s most sought-after communication consultants, takes readers through the exact steps and mindset shifts needed to talk to anyone in any situation with clarity and confidence. But she wasn’t always the charismatic communication expert that she is today—speaking to those around her didn’t come naturally at all.
“I was so shy that my face looked like a sunburned lobster whenever I talked with teachers or other children,” she explained of her shyness growing up. “My severe shyness, or ‘social anxiety disorder,’ lasted through college and beyond.”
We’ve all experienced a little dose of shyness or a touch of social anxiety here or there—maybe it’s meeting someone you really clicked with online for a first date, or perhaps it’s getting up in front of your office to share your team’s quarterly update.
But, for many of us, speaking to people in a variety of settings just doesn’t feel as if it comes naturally.
In fact, according to a study published in the Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, over twenty percent of the general population have a serious fear of speaking up and commanding a room, not just in a group setting, but in a myriad of social situations.
For most people with social anxiety or introverted tendencies, this number may come as a surprise given that having social phobias can be incredibly isolating, but for author Leil Lowndes, the seemingly staggering number fuels her passion to help individuals harness their charisma and learn to confidently command any room.
Lowndes spent much of her early life as a flight attendant for the now defunct Pan American World Airways, which she credits for being the reason she learned to speak so clearly and effectively to all types of people in all sorts of situations.
And while we can’t all become flight attendants and force ourselves out of our comfort zone for the sake of better communication, How to Talk to Anyone comes as a pretty decent consolation prize for anyone looking to increase their clarity and feel more confident when commanding a room or simply communicating one-on-one with acquaintances.
The very first thing to note is that this is not a step-by-step guide to chatting up a storm. Lowndes doesn’t give you a list of sure-fire questions to ask your date or fail-safe ice breakers to use at your next revenue meeting.
Instead, she offers up dozens of easy and effective techniques that begin simple enough: small steps that will allow readers to start speaking up confidently or leading a conversation with friends.
As the manual goes on, Lowndes helps the reader work their way up to more sophisticated, high level techniques that will eventually have them commanding the room with ease—no matter whether they’re introverted or extroverted.
The collection of tips for social interactions ranges from nonverbal communication, including body language tips and vocal tone advice that will make the reader become more aware of their social behavior in ways that they may not have noticed before.
This isn’t to say that Lowndes speaks down to the reader or makes them feel as though they’re socially weird but instead offers up what feels like insider tips to improving charisma and making others feel equally interested and comfortable in their presence.
Ranging from little things nobody actually thinks of, like how and when to smile at someone when greeting them, to more advanced strategies like eliciting intimate feelings right off the bat by referring to yourself and a relative stranger as a ‘we’ right away, this how-to guide is packed with smart anecdotes that will put the reader in the driver seat in all forms of communication.
Whether you’re hoping to improve your overall charisma and attract the attention of anyone in any room you walk into, or you’re starting a bit smaller; hoping to improve your body language and become that sparkling personality people actually want to talk to at parties or on a date, Leil Lowndes’ How to Talk to Anyone is an excellent option for anyone hoping to improve their people skills and become a more interesting and confident conversationalist.
Not only will you come out of this book with the toolkit needed to become a better casual and confident speaker, you’ll be much more aware of your own social behaviors and habits that may be working against you either in your personal life or in business.
In short, even if you think you’re a perfectly fine communicator, there’s a good chance How to Talk to Anyone will leave you feeling 10 percent more confident and leagues more aware of how to be a warm, open, and most importantly, a genuine communicator.