Many people are more likely to benefit from simple than complex advice, for example, one-liners that are easy to keep top-of-mind. Rules of thumb are particularly helpful because they’re more flexible than rules—They’re guidelines: usually but not always wise. Here are some rules of thumb that have been particularly helpful to my clients.
The traffic light. In your utterance’s first 30 seconds, your light is green. In the second 30 it’s yellow. At the one-minute mark, you usually should shut up or ask a question. An interaction is a conversation, not lecturettes.
20-40. In a two-person conversation, talk 20 to 40 percent of the time. Your conversation partner will feel likely better about the outcome and about you, and you’re more likely to learn something.
Disagree sparingly. You pay a price each time you disagree let alone criticize. Assess whether it’s worth the price.
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