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Talking to people 101

While we are undoubtedly living in an age of digital hyper-connectivity, many business agents forget the real-world importance of interfacing directly with other human beings. Or, to put this in layman’s terms, talking to people.

From professional communication and business development to non-commercial interaction, the role of direct human to human (H2H) interactivity cannot be understated. Direct H2H comms can enrich your business relationships, leveraging your digital strategy to deliver durable connections through the heightened connectivity only H2H can offer.

So how can you utilise H2H communication to increase the value of your personal brand, build a monetisable business network and enrich your private relationships?

Eye contact and body language

Human interaction is a highly complex operation, which requires the coordination of a diverse range of acquirable skill sets. To begin effective H2H engagement, start by looking your business development target, or human friend, in the eyes. This will create a sense of ‘trust’ and intimacy. But be careful, overuse of eye contact can arrest the growth of trust and result in your H2H target developing feelings of discomfort.

Body language is another important factor in H2H interaction. Grasping your targets hand firmly with your own, in what is commonly termed a ‘handshake’ is an effective commencement strategy for your passage of interactivity. During the H2H engagement, or ‘conversation’, assuming a stable posture, with limited hand activity, can create an environment of mutual comfort and form a strong basis for effective interpersonal communication.


The next challenge for H2H communicators is the vocalisation of language, or ‘speech’. Choosing a context-appropriate tone is essential for successful H2H engagement. Define your audience and identify the appropriate tone, pacing and inflection to maximise your impact.

For many non-professional communicators, the challenge of moderating so many factors concurrently may seem insurmountable. But with adequate preparation, even the least experienced communicator can speak to another human being.

Language and topic

Arguably the most complicated element of H2H engagement, your choice of language will have an incalculable impact on the success or failure of your attempt to speak to another person.

While your language of choice will present you with seemingly infinite options to combine words into phrases and sentences, from ‘Hello Dave, how is your wife?’ to ‘The prepossessing sea snail interrogated the meaning of breakfast’; try to stick with common and, most importantly, intelligible linguistic forms.

Once you have put together coherent sentences, the next challenge is a topic of conversation. If you are utilising H2H to generate business outcomes, it’s important to remain on the topic of your business, while also incorporating a non-intrusive interest in your target’s personal and professional life outside the conversation in question. For H2H engagements of a more personal nature, topic choice may be more complicated. Popular topics include: family, work, the weather and sports.

While H2H engagement is an inherently complex and confronting exercise, the benefits of this highly direct form of engagement cannot be ignored. For businesses looking to improve the quality of their business development systems, speaking to other people is an essential element of any communications plan. And for individuals looking to form human relationships, it is an invaluable tool.