Here’s a really useful phrase for deepening a conversation, and connecting more meaningfully with others: “Tell me more.”
First off, make sure to run out and start annoying people with this little phrase as soon as you’ve finished reading the newspaper! Seriously, though, “Tell me more” can be super helpful in moving deeper in conversations and fostering relationships.
Remember that verse on listening in James 1:19: “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak.”
This little phrase is a helpful tool to add to your listening skills — and those are skills all of us can use some practice. A lot of practice.
This phrase isn’t complicated to use, either. In a simple conversation such as: “My mom is back in the hospital again.” Instead of responding in a more traditional way, such as, “I’m sorry to hear that,” responding with
“tell me more” (then pausing to look and listen), communicates powerfully your genuine interest in this person’s life.
It can be a powerful turning point in a conversation — a moment of deepening in a relationship. Really. And sometimes — it simply flops. That’s OK. This is conversation. This is a relationship. They’re strange and wild things. While it’s no miracle elixir, “tell me more” is quite powerful, and well worth the little extra effort in order to engage others well.
• Nathan Stearman is the pastor of Juneau Seventh-day Adventist Church. “Living & Growing” is a regular column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.