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Dan has spent the last 9 years studying social skills, and his passion is empowering shy people to talk to anyone and make new friends.
Founder of thefriendformula.com. The Friend Formula teaches simple, practical, and proven techniques to help shy people make connections everywhere they go.
Right now, he’s focused on teaching small talk mastery. Since most shy people avoid small talk, he helps them to uncover the power and use it to create meaningful conversation.
Hey everybody, welcome to today’s episode of the show. How are you doing today? On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you right now, in this moment? Ten being totally confident, I believe in myself, I like myself, things are looking good, I can take care of things, people like me. Of course, they like me, I’m awesome, that’s a 10. Maybe a 1 would be the opposite of all that. I suck, I’m terrible and nothing’s ever going to work, no one likes me, I’m ugly, I’m a loser. And if you’re there, that’s okay too because you’re listening to me and listening to the show and this is a powerful way to bring yourself up that spectrum from 1 to 5 to 10 because the more you focus on this, the more you study this stuff, the more you learn this, I’m sure you’ve heard me say that confidence is a skill.
So, the more you learn, the more you apply, the more you take action, the more you work on yourself and transform how you feel about yourself, the more it lasts and the better you feel over time. It’s a skill you can learn it. So, I’m so glad you’re here with me today. And speaking of skills, we’re going to be diving onto the second half of my interview with Small Talk master, Dan Chang where, if you haven’t listened to the first half, you’re probably going to want to pause this and go back and listen to the first half, the interview. He is teaching his three-step formula for connecting through small talk, how to be a master at it. It’s super valuable and awesome and we’re going to be diving right into the middle so make sure you listen to that first interview and if you already have, then welcome back and let’s get right back into it.
If you want to learn more about Dan or read the transcript or look at the show notes as well, go to shrinkfortheshyguy.com and you can learn more about me there. You can actually also reach out to me if you have questions. I’ve been doing some more bonus episodes with Q&A in Ask the Shrink so if you want to ask me questions, that’s a great way to do it as well. You can also go deeper with my e-book there for free called, “Five Steps to Unleash Your Inner Confidence,” and that is at shrinkfortheshyguy.com.
So, let’s get back into that interview with Dan where you’re going to learn the most important thing I think when it comes to connecting with small talk and about humor, about how to do this in your life, watching example of me and Dan doing it, it’s going to be awesome. So, let’s dive into that interview right now.
You can start to fly into deeper stuff, and it all comes from that that initial cliché or factual question. So, I think those are extremely important and they really do get to that deeper stuff.
Dan Chang: Yes, I love it. I love it. I really liked what you said about it being like a superpower because as I’ve mastered Small Talk over the past few years, it really, really has changed my life so much, like at work or just like when I’m out talking to random people. It really snowballs and creates things that you wouldn’t even expect. And like you said, you can just … most people are so afraid of just saying something that’s really cliché because they think they have to be interesting, right? But just like you, I’ve started so many conversations with things like … that you think are not interesting at all, right? So, there was a guy that was standing on the train and I was like, he had a tattoo on his arm. And I said, “Cool tattoo.” And then we start talking. We talked for like half an hour and then we ended up exchanging phone numbers. Like every day on the commute, I’m like always just talking to people. And the way to open a conversation is like it’s so simple that it’s ridiculous. But I think a lot of people tend to just over think it.
Dr. Aziz: Yes, so that’s great. I mean so there’s the clichéd questions are fine, what do you? Do you live nearby or what part of town do you live in? Or what you did there, it was just a comment like “Nice tattoo, nice jacket. Where’d you get it?” Or “I love that, those are cool glasses.” You can just … it can be that simple to just make that initial contact. And then probably my guess is what you did, Dan, because you’re really good at this, is you followed up with like you’re just super curious about the person, you mentioned that earlier. So then whenever they say in response to your kind of generic or clichéd question, you’re really listening to be able to take it deeper or to go on the directions that you want.
Dan Chang: Yes, absolutely. And which brings us to the next step actually …
Dr. Aziz: Yes.
Dan Chang: …which is perfect transition
Dr. Aziz: Perfect.
Dan Chang: Yes, so after you get them talking about their opinions and their feelings, the next thing you want to do is to affirm what they say. This is so important and I can’t even begin to like talk about how many times I’ve talked to people and they just kind of like at you with a blank face. Or they just don’t respond the way that you’re expecting, right? So and actually my wife gives me a hard time because I’m actually not that great at this so I’ve been working on this. But she’s like … she’ll tell me like “You know, he was cracking jokes the whole time and you didn’t even laugh or give him like the sympathy chuckle or anything.” and I’m like …
Dr. Aziz: I’m sorry baby, he wasn’t funny. I couldn’t do it.
Dan Chang: Yes. That’s how I used to operate. It’s just like … if it’s not funny, I’m not going to laugh which … I mean I still kind of believe them but at the same time when someone says something, they’re opening up and they’re putting a piece of themselves out there for the world, right. And how you respond is really important. And it’s going to determine how they … whether they keep putting more of themselves out there or whether they close up and put up walls. So, when someone says something, you need to affirm what they say. I think a huge, huge problem and there’s this guy that I know, I don’t know what his deal is but he always like has this need to be smarter than you or something or like disagree with you or see the other perspectives as you sensed.
Dr. Aziz: Play devil’s advocate or something.
Dan Chang: Yes, right. Yes.
Dr. Aziz: Yes.
Dan Chang: Super annoying, right? And so, whenever you talk to him, he always … as you’re talking, he’ll like put his hand on his chin and be like, “Hmmm, yes. I don’t know.” Or like he’ll like, “Well, or you know. Well, actually…,” after like everything I say and it’s so annoying. So, I end up just not talking to him because that disaffirmation, if that’s a word really, really puts you off, right, when you’re in those beginning phases of a conversation. Like sure, it’s okay to disagree with someone when you’re having like a full-blown like conversation. But in the beginning when you’re starting out, it’s really important as someone sharing to affirm what they say even if it’s really, really simple, right, like again, I’m going to come up with an awesome example right now.
If they’re like “Yes, I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” And you’re like, “Oh, my God yes,” like you don’t even necessarily have to love them yourself but there’s this rule in impromptu comedy where there’s a rule called, “Yes and were you,” after everything like someone does, you just say “yes and really you…,” you always agree with what they say and then you build up it because if you disagree with the other person, it’s going to break rapport. So, you don’t have to agree, right, like for example, Aziz, if you told me that you liked peanut butter and jelly and I didn’t like it, like I could still use the same formula. I could be like, “Yes, peanut butter and jelly. My sister loves that too but you know, I’m not a big fan.” So, just by starting off with the word “yes,” just using that is huge.
Dr. Aziz: Yes, I love that. You’re building … and there’s just so many great images that are coming to mind as you’re talking. It’s like they’re kind of putting a little bit of themselves out there. And how we receive that will determine if they keep doing it. It’s almost like a little hermit crab like kind of poking out of it shell and a gopher coming and have poking it out of its hole. And if you do the wrong … if you kind of pounce at the gopher, it’s going to run away and the same thing with this if we … in this case, the pouncing the way if we receive it and poorly, one way might be stoned-faced.
We’re just like staring at them. And maybe you’re doing that because you’re nervous or because you feel uncomfortable being expressive but I hear Dan saying, it’s so important is you want to be expressive. You want to … with your energy with saying “yes.” You want to be responsive in some way. So if there is just the blank slate, people are not going to … the gopher is going to go back down in its hole. And similarly if they share something, you want to not always be looking for the like the mismatching or why it’s different or why you don’t like it. And I agree with you, Dan, like disagreeing is important and being authentic and we don’t want to be the overly nice guy. But in those initial phases, we want to find a way to keep bringing more and more of them out. And I love that so saying “yes” and building on it. And finding like a level of enthusiasm with them that…
Dan Chang: Yes.
Dr. Aziz: That’s like, “Yes, come on out.” And you don’t have to be the craziest, most animated person but you just don’t want to be like, “Hmm, peanut butter and jelly, hmm.”
Dan Chang: Exactly.
Dr. Aziz: What will they do with that, they’re like “Okay.”
Dan Chang: Yes, and that’s right. And by the way, can I steal that gopher analogy because you’re a lot better at this than I am.
Dr. Aziz: Done, that is yours officially.
Dan Chang: Sweet, oh my gosh I’m going to consult you on every analogy I make now because…
Dr. Aziz: The gopher, we’ll draw a picture. What’s really interesting … we’re going to pause here for just one moment.
Dr. Aziz: Hold on, I’m going to pause here because you were saying some really good stuff and I actually want to keep hearing from you. So, when they are sharing and they’re putting more of themselves out there, we’re affirming them or encouraging them in a way to keep doing it.
Dan Chang: Right.
Dr. Aziz: Maybe … what are some other … maybe one or two other ways that we can help that gopher come out?
Dan Chang: Yes.
Dr. Aziz: Maybe examples of how we affirm or anything else that you teach.
Dan Chang: Yes, I have them. Yes, something else that I teach which is matching them which … it’s kind like matching and mirroring but I don’t like … yes, I break it down into like matching their energy, matching their body language and their voice.
Dr. Aziz: So, tell us for someone who might not have heard of the term matching and mirroring. And tell us a little, what do you mean by matching?
Dan Chang: Yes so when you’re affirming someone, you’re showing them that you’re similar, showing them that you get it because they’ve just exposed themselves to you. That sounds weird. I need your help with my illustrations. Yes, so in addition to affirming what they say, agreeing with them, understanding them. Another way to affirm them and show that you get it is by matching their energy level. And the way to do that is to match their voice so how they talk, specific words that they use. And then secondly, match their body so their body language or like if they’re leaning against something really relaxed or if they’re slouching. Like all of that is an indication of their energy level and if you think about it, if you are really tired, you’ve had a long day, you just like … you just want to get home and lay down on your bed, there’s nothing more annoying than someone who is on the opposite end of the energy spectrum. Someone comes to you and like, “Hey man, how’s it going? Awesome. Cool.” You just want them to go away because they’re not matching you where you are.
Dr. Aziz: Yes.
Dan Chang: And then vice versa, if you’re really excited, you just got a new job and you’re freaking out, you’re like, “Yes, I killed it,” and then someone comes up to you and they’re like, “Hey, what’s going on? You got a new job? Cool dude,” and they’re not matching you where you are then that also breaks the connection. Does it make sense?
Dr. Aziz: Yes, that’s super important. Yes, matching a lot of different things including your energy level there. And I love how … when you help people think about how they would respond to someone else, it helps make it very clear about … well then, that’s how other people would be too. So, we want to find a way to match that energy, match someone’s enthusiasm about something. And I think that again helps them feel more connected to us. So, let’s get into that third step. So now we are affirming what they’re saying, they’re sharing more. What’s the third step to really connect with small talk?
Dan Chang: All right, yes. So, step number three the very last step. So, as you’re talking to especially if you’re shy, it’s important that you don’t just become a bobblehead and just keep agreeing with whatever the person is saying. So, I have a friend and there was one time we were out having lunch together and there was another table of a woman sitting next to us. And this woman started talking to us and I was just eavesdropping on the conversation and she was like … she was a middle-aged woman. She had a daughter in college and she was sharing a lot about her life and which is good. He was having her open up and affirming what she was saying. And she was … every time she said something. He would just nod and agree. And be like “Cool, cool. All right nice, sweet, cool.” And what happens is it becomes a nice conversation for her but there’s not really a connection that’s being built because my friend got to know a lot about her but she didn’t really get to know about him. So, when we’re trying to build that connection, not only do you have to uncover someone’s opinions and feelings and then affirm them but you need to show how you’re similar. So, you need to relate with your own opinions and feelings. So, that’s step number three, relate with your opinions and feelings, yes.
Dr. Aziz: Yes, that’s super important. And I think I’ve definitely been there where the other person is talking and sharing and I’m maybe not as engaged as I’m pretending to be by nodding and being the bobblehead. Or maybe I am engaged but you’re right. In a way, I’ve hidden through the conversation and they don’t really know me. They haven’t really … I got to gopher to come all the way out of the hole for them but mine was like kind of hiding and just poking out with his eyes enough to nod. So, they don’t really leave feeling like they know me. And sometimes I think when we’re shy, it feels safer to do that. It’s like well, I got them to like me I think but and you don’t have as risk as much if I put my ideas or my opinions or my feelings or more of who I am out there, well that’s … then they can reject me. So, we kind of stay safe but I think you’re having a very important point because if we do that, they’re not really going to feel that connected to us. We’re not really building a real connection over time.
Dan Chang: Yes, definitely. And it is safer to just not say anything and keep it all inside but once you know this framework and you see what could small talk is? And know that you understand that. It’s important to focus on the other person, affirm what they say, right? If you do share and the person disagrees with what you say, they talk about themselves some more, you can have the confidence knowing that, “You know what? I just opened up and I shared about myself and this person is not responding appropriately.” And so, most people aren’t actually very good at small talk. So, as you do it more like it’s okay because just know that if you’re doing it correctly, that’s what counts.
Dr. Aziz: Right and you get information because okay, man this is so important too because we approach conversations on some level with like, “I got to get this person to like me,” especially if they’re important and we’re feeling anxious that’s how often are unconscious motive is to get them to like us. And we’re so focused on that and doing it right that we don’t actually assess, does this feel good for me?
Dan Chang: Yes, yes.
Dr. Aziz: Like when I share, I’m doing step three. That’s why I think it’s such an important step. One and two are great but if you just do one and two, you might never really enjoy yourself. I might feel extremely drained. There’s a lot of people that I work with who are like myself are more introverted. And they say “Well, I feel extremely drained after talking to people.” And I’m always like, “Well, maybe.” I mean sometimes that’s part of introversion maybe you need some recharge time. But also could be … and I didn’t use, I didn’t have your framework at the time but it really … I think people are just doing steps one and two and not step three. And that can be kind of draining because you’re not really getting that connection which is the energizing part. But if you do step three and you share and you get this kind of responses, they don’t feel that good? That’s a great indicator of well, maybe I don’t want to go way deeper with this person. Maybe if it’s a party or a gathering or something, maybe you wrap up in a minute or two and go talk to someone else that’s more fun.
Dan Chang: Yes.
Dr. Aziz: And that’s your right to do that.
Dan Chang: Yes, and that’s the greatest thing about mastering this stuff. It’s no use … you’re no longer just looking to affirm yourself through every interaction. Like you don’t need people to tell you that you’re good or you don’t need approval from other people but no, you can actually go into a conversation with the proper knowledge. And like you said, decide whether this is something that you want to stand or not. And most importantly, why we’re doing this in the end is to enjoy ourselves and to actually enjoy spending time with people, enjoy talking to them because ultimately, that’s what … that’s like the fifth human need or something like there’s the shelter, water or food whatever and human connection, we cannot thrive if we don’t enjoy social interaction with other humans.
Dr. Aziz: Totally, I love it.
Dan Chang: Yes.
Dr. Aziz: Okay there’s one other question I have for you and then I want to play a little game which I think could be really fun.
Dan Chang: Okay, cool.
Dr. Aziz: So, the last question I want to ask though before the game is what about witty banter? Where does that fall in? Because I think that’s extremely important and that is actually a good percentage of my small talk. I’m actually looking for funny stuff. I’m looking to make the other person laugh. I’m looking to have a good time myself even if they don’t laugh as much to entertain myself.
Dan Chang: Yes.
Dr. Aziz: And Dan, so where does that fall into small talk? meeting women today.
Dan Chang: Yes, awesome question. I personally love humor. I plan on making a full course about it because that’s how much I love it. It’s like I watch stand comedians. I love to analyze humor and break it down. And the way I think about humor is that it’s the shortcut to connection. If you look at any good conversationalist, if they’re funny and they know how to use humor correctly, they’re going to light the skyrocket and they’re like … people are like they’re laughing, they’re touching each other and there’s this quick bond that happens through humor. For whatever reason, it’s really, really magical. So yes, I’m really glad you asked this question. With small talk, so, what we just talked about those three steps, that’s the basic framework.
So those are like the step by step things bread and butter that you need to understand in order to deepen the conversation but then humor, that’s like … like I said, that’s like the spaceship shortcut. And the most effective thing I found to really bond people together is teasing, specifically playful teasing. I think that’s the most … the easiest thing to do and the most powerful. And it can be kind of tricky, I don’t really have time to get into all of it right now but I think the easiest way for you to start testing it out and learning how to do it is using something I call “the call back” or that’s called “the callback.” And I noticed this a lot when I was talking to people. And it works really, really well like 99% of the time, it works. And it’s so easy to do and it’s so powerful. And it creates this like inside joke kind of thing with people. Are you ready for it?
Dr. Aziz: Yes, tell us. Fill us in.
Dan Chang: Okay, cool. All right, cool. So, I learned this from standup comedy. If you ever listen to a whole set, you’ll notice that comedians, they’ll tell a joke one time. And it’s like they’ll get laughter and it performs okay. But then for whatever reason when they refer back or call back to that joke the second time, the audience laughs really, really hard like a lot harder than the first time for whatever reason. And it’s because that the joke is familiar. They’ve already created that before. So, it’s almost like time travel. It’s like that inside joke that you have with an old friend? You’re basically creating that within a matter of minutes. So, how you can do it is all you have to do is when someone’s talking, you just listen for one thing, it doesn’t have to be that funny, just something that’s interesting or quirky or fun something that you remember.
Or the best thing is to do, is to remember a joke. Something that made everybody laugh. For example, we’re hanging out with my friends and one of the girls she was saying that Britney Spears, her song, “I’m not a girl” or “I’m a girl not yet a woman” or something like that, was her favorite song. And so then we were all laughing and making fun of her. And I’m like, that’s pretty funny and interesting. So, I held on to that. And then it’s like 10 or 15 minutes later, people were talking about dating and all this. And then and all I did was, I just pulled that same thing out and used it in a different context. So I just said, “Well, she wouldn’t know. She’s just a girl not yet a woman,” and everyone erupted in laughter and it was like …
Dr. Aziz: Yes.
Dan Chang: And it’s really, really easy. You can do with literally anything. And all you have to do is refer to it again in a different context.
Dr. Aziz: Yes and what’s great about that is it’s combining the call back with teasing, right?
Dan Chang: Yes.
Dr. Aziz: Because you’re kind of teasing her playfully about, “She likes that song,” and in that dating example like, she’s just a girl. It’s like a little playful tease with her.
Dan Chang: Yes.
Dr. Aziz: So, that’s like a double-whammy, teasing and call back.
Dan Chang: Exactly.
Dr. Aziz: Boom.
Dan Chang: Yes, boom. And the thing is, it’s really, really safe to do. If you’re scared about taking risks and looking stupid, this is really easy because you’re using a joke that everybody already felt was funny before and you’re just repeating it again. And it’s going to be even funnier. Yes, it’s safer.
Dr. Aziz: Yes, and that’s … I mean that’s the whole … I mean dude, that’ll be a whole fascinating. I’m glad you can do a course on it. I think it’ll be a whole fascinating interview actually. Maybe we will have an interview that’s just focused on this because it’s so important. It is the shortcut rocket ship. And I think a big piece of it actually is risk. And a lot of humor, a lot of what makes people erupt, I love that you said that word, erupt in laughter is, it’s different than what’s expected. There’s and so, in a way there’s a risk there. And I think sometimes with a good buddy or with our friends, we take the risk because it feels safe, we know they love us, But when we’re bold enough and get skilled enough with it, to start taking that risk when you just met someone 30 seconds ago.
Dan Chang: Yes.
Dr. Aziz: And you can do it and you can make it. And it’s funny, and it’s playful and they get it and they laugh, then boom. You guys can connect like your old friends in five minutes. And it’s pretty amazing stuff. So, perhaps more there but let’s … before we wrap today. In a moment I’ll have you share a little bit more about where people can find your awesome formula because I’m sure this is great. Just these three steps is the overview of them is extremely valuable. I’m sure diving deeper in is going to be absolutely essential for anyone who wants to master this. So, we will show that in a second.
Dan Chang: Awesome.
Dr. Aziz: Before we do that, this just came to me during our conversation today. I don’t know how it’s going to go but I want to give it a shot.
Dan Chang: Okay.
Dr. Aziz: Because we can talk about doing small talk for a long time and that’s useful, but sometimes modeling is a very powerful way to learn.
Dan Chang: Yes.
Dr. Aziz: And so you and I know each other some, not super deep but we do know some information and stuff about each other. So I want to kind of pretend like we don’t, so you can’t just refer to something that I’ve shared with you already.
Dan Chang: Right, right.
Dr. Aziz: The same way for me. And like “So, how are the kids?” And you don’t know that I have kids.
Dan Chang: Right, right. You start on the ground.
Dr. Aziz: Yes, so we just met and then of course, that might unfold. And I don’t know, we’ll just do a few minutes, it doesn’t have to be like half hour of this but let’s just play around and demonstrate some small talk like we just met at this dinner last night. So, it’s like this dinner party or something. Everyone’s standing around having hors d’oeuvres and I don’t know anything about you. I’m just, “There’s this guy over there.” So, let’s just … if you’re into it, we’ll just play for a minute. And just see what happens and then we’ll do a quick debrief. Does that sound fun?
Dan Chang: Yes, sounds fun. I’m into it.
Dr. Aziz: Okay.
Dan Chang: Let’s do it.
Dr. Aziz: Okay.
Dan Chang: Okay, so this will be fun because it’s a little bit more challenging because it’s on the phone, we don’t have like visual cues and all that stuff but…
Dr. Aziz: I know.
Dan Chang: Still though I think like phone conversations are a whole another thing that people struggle with so this will be fun, yes.
Dr. Aziz: Next level. I know.
Dan Chang: Yes.
Dr. Aziz: And for that, we can just make up stuff like you can ask me about and then pretending I’m eating something or whatever.
Dan Chang: Yes.
Dr. Aziz: So the question would be, do you want to approach? Be the one who starts the conversation or would you like me to?
Dan Chang: Yes, I’ll do it.
Dr. Aziz: Okay.
Dan Chang: I’ll approach because I’m the one that’s teaching it.
Dr. Aziz: Because you’re the man.
Dan Chang: Yes, watch the master work.
Dr. Aziz: Take notes, young gopher.
Dan Chang: All right, hold on. Let me get a sip of water real quick. All right, are you ready?
Dr. Aziz: Yes.
Dan Chang: Okay, wait what’s the setting? We’re at a…
Dr. Aziz: At a dinner. It’s going to be a dinner thing but there’s like … we’re standing around, we’re eating hors d’oeuvres before the actual meal. There’s like maybe 20 people kind of milling about, chatting with each other.
Dan Chang: Cool, okay all right. Hey, how’s it going, man? So, what brings you here?
Dr. Aziz: Hey, I was invited by Michael. He said it will be a great chance to meet some people and just connect with local business owners here in Portland.
Dan Chang: Nice, so you know Michael? How do you know him?
Dr. Aziz: He actually reached out to me awhile back and interviewed me for his podcast.
Dan Chang: Cool, so you do … you like do teaching and stuff like that?
Dr. Aziz: I do actually. Yes, yes. So, yes I teach people on the … not like a traditional, educational institutions or like college but I teach people how to be more confident.
Dan Chang: Cool, I used to struggle with confidence as a little kid and that’s like super interesting stuff to me. So, how did you get into that?
Dr. Aziz: I will tell you. I’m also curious in what you said there which is interesting. I’ll tell you in a sec, no I’m super curious. What … tell me more? You said you used to, what was it like when you’re a kid?
Dan Chang: Yes, yes. So, when I was a kid, I was really shy and I really lacked confidence. When I would get nervous, I would actually like twitch, I blinked a lot. And yes, so it wasn’t good.
Dr. Aziz: Yes.
Dan Chang: So I take like over the years, I really spent a lot of time like following people like you, teaching through podcast and videos and stuff. And just try to learn how to become more confident and social and stuff so…
Dr. Aziz: Yes. Well dude, you obviously … you won because you were like super easy to talk to and seem very confident to me.
Dan Chang: Thanks man. That’s really nice, thanks. So, what was I going to say? Yes, so like your podcasts and stuff. How do you like that? That’s pretty like non-traditional like most … I’ve never really met anyone that does that kind of thing. Most of my friends are like 9 to 5-ers or sitting at a desk cubicle.
Dr. Aziz: Yes. I know. I was actually training when I was in college to do computer science and I did that for about two-and-a-half years. And then I had one night where it’s like the middle the night and I was programming something and I was like, “Wait a minute, even when I get through this sucky face, I’m going to get a job sitting in a cubicle programming 9 to 5 if I’m lucky, maybe even longer. And then I was like, “I can’t do this.”
So, I pulled the ripcord and just … I don’t know. I was like, “I got to figure out a different path. So I started pursuing what was most fascinating to me and that was psychology and then people and then it was a perfect fit because I was like you really stuck in my confidence. And I was always studying that so, it kind of fit in to psychology. And then I went and trained and became a therapist and clinical psychologist. And now I kind of do what I do here. So, it all started from not wanting to be in a cubicle, really.
Dan Chang: Yes, I think a lot of the stuff that we do is driven by that like the need to escape something like…
Dr. Aziz: Yes.
Dan Chang: For me like I just want to get away from something. You don’t know what or why but just like I got to I got to make a change in my life.
Dr. Aziz: Yes.
Dan Chang: And I got to get away from this.
Dr. Aziz: I don’t know where I’m going but it’s not over there.
Dan Chang: Yes, exactly yes. So just … that’s amazing. You just kind of took the leap and just kind of did it.
Dr. Aziz: Yes, that’s sort of feeling my way through it step by step. And it’s actually been the guiding principle since that night actually. It was like I’m going to pursue what excites me most. And it was often towards something that was unknown, more challenging, more uncertain, more risky and also maybe something that didn’t immediately produce a result. Like it wasn’t the most … obviously for straight out of college, being a computer scientist would have been the most lucrative path, getting out of college with a psychology degree, not as lucrative. And in every step of the way, I’ve been kind of pursuing the thing that wasn’t the immediate monetary reward but I think overall, a massive life satisfaction and in the long-term can create a tremendous amount of prosperity too.
Dan Chang: That’s so good, yes. Really like … really planning it out for the future?
Dr. Aziz: Yes.
Dan Chang: The long haul, yes.
Dr. Aziz: Delay of gratification, baby.
Dan Chang: Oh yes. I’m all about that too.
Dr. Aziz: Really?
Dan Chang: But it’s not…
Dr. Aziz: Let’s pause it here because now I want to be like, “Well, tell me more about it so let’s pause.
Dan Chang: Yes, yes. Now we’re just like chatting, chatting like normally, yes.
Dr. Aziz: Yes, so for those who were listening right now, I want you really … maybe get sucked into the content but really take a step back and reflect for a minute on what Dan was teaching us earlier and how he was masterfully using so many of those things. And I’ll share a couple that I noticed and Dan, maybe you can point out anything that you noticed. You might be at the stage of unconscious competence where you’re just … you’re competent without even … it just flows out of you; that’s the sense I get but you can still probably break some of the stuff you’re doing down.
One thing I noticed as you did a lot of that affirming, that yes ending whether you said that literally or directly or just with your energy and your voice tone. And I got to say as the kind of the focus of this small talk conversation, that’s what it ended up being. It feels really good like I feel listened to. I feel important. I feel interesting. And I think it’s because of the affirming, the curiosity you have. You matched my energy as well. So, I think I saw you applying a lot of the stuff. I don’t know if there’s other things that you noticed or what you were consciously doing as we were doing that.
Dan Chang: Nice. Yes, yes absolutely so the big thing is to … it’s okay to focus on the other person like I think a lot of nervousness comes from thinking, “Oh, shoot, it’s my turn to talk I got something interesting,” or like, “How do I show to them I’m funny and interesting.” And that’s what causes you to freeze up because you don’t really know what to say but when the other person is talking about themselves, it feels amazing for that person. So as you’re talking to them, it’s okay to just keep digging deeper. As long as you’re not just asking questions to ask questions, no, you’re really interested and you’re asking meaningful questions.
Like they say that when people talk about themselves, we just call it “self-disclosure,” it’s the feeling that they get from the chemicals released in their brain is comparable to sex, good food and drugs. Like that’s how good it feels when people talk about themselves. So, don’t be afraid of asking the person to explain more. Really, really get curious and ask just whatever comes to your mind. Know that like they’ll be happy to tell you more and don’t put pressure on yourself to necessarily say anything. So, during our conversations like I didn’t really talk that much about myself. I was just letting you talk and I was learning about you as much as possible. And then if I did think of something that related like, “Cool, I feel that way too,” or made me think of something then that’s when I would share about myself. But other than that, I really put the spotlight on you.
Dr. Aziz: Yes.
Dan Chang: And which is what Small Talk masters do. You think of talk show hosts right and they are the ultimate … penultimate, is that’s right word pen? No. They’re the ultimate…
Dr. Aziz: I’ve heard the pen though but I don’t actually know what it means. Sure, they’re the supreme ultimate.
Dan Chang: Yes, right. Supreme, super, ultimate Small Talk professionals like they know … they do it day in and day out. And look at what they do is they really focus on their guest.
Dr. Aziz: Yes.
Dan Chang: And so, that’s Small Talk masters. That’s what we got to do as well.
Dr. Aziz: And what’s really interesting is as we’re going through that, there’s like this desire in me. So yes, I’m feeling good. It’s like I ate a handful of ecstasy pills, a cheeseburger and orgasmed.
Dan Chang: All at the same time, yes.
Dr. Aziz: It feels good and I’m associating like I’m feeling good talking to Dan. I’m feeling good talking to Dan. Like my brain’s making this connections like being around Dan feels good which is nice, that’s what you want. And also, there’s this kind of … it feels good and there’s this natural reciprocity in humans where it feels good and part of me is like this curiosity is building in me. It’s kind of like, “But wait, I want to know about you.” And that’s a beautiful thing because then focus on me for a while and then inevitably, I want to shift it to him like, “Well, tell me about you and I’m so curious your story,” and then you get this beautiful back and forth of a kind of mutual curiosity.
So, I think that spotlighting them first is a powerful way to build that connection because they’re going to want to know more about you. So dude, this is really, really good stuff. I got to say this is one of the most technically useful, just practical, valuable interviews I’ve done so I really want to thank you for showing up and sharing this stuff. And I want … I noticed people listening right now who we’re like, dude I want to like really get … if you really want to know his system and learn how to apply this stuff. And take it from some kind of … .you got some useful stuff that you can apply right now today but if you want to master it, I would strongly encourage you to dive deeper into his program. So, tell us a little more about where people can find you. We’ll have a link below in the show notes at shrinkfortheshyguy.com but tell the people how to find you.
Dan Chang: Yes, thanks so much, Aziz. That was really nice to hear. You know what? That really is what I do. I pride myself on taking a lot of information and I’m boiling it down into really, really simple concepts that you can understand and then really, really practical ways to use them. So, it’s so nice to hear you say that. And just kind of affirm what I’m doing so thanks.
Okay yes, to stay in touch with me, check out my free course at thefriendformula.com. You can sign up and no, they’ll get delivered straight into your inbox. I have an introductory video course on Small Talk and how to start enjoying it, how to understand it, overcome boredom and nervousness which I found are the two biggest obstacles that people face. You can hit me up via email. I just reply, I read every single email that I get. You’ll get updates from me, videos that I put out, random musings. And then yes, you can also find me on facebook.com/ the friend formula and I’ll be there as well. So, either one of those channels, just check it out.
Dr. Aziz: All right. That is awesome. Good, good man.
Dan Chang: Cool.
Dr. Aziz: Thank you so much for coming on and sharing this stuff. And we’ll have all that information down below. And go forth … everyone listening, go forth and prosper in your small talk. And if you want to get even more, check Dan’s stuff out, thefriendformula.com. Thanks again, Dan.
Dan Chang: All right, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Dr. Aziz: That brings us to the end of the interview and almost to the end of our show but not until we do the action step.
Your action step for today is similar to last week which is to take one thing that you learned from this interview which you heard the second half today and apply it in your life. Maybe it’s something from step three. Maybe it’s practicing sharing more. Maybe you tend to hold back and not reveal much, practice sharing. Put it out there. Maybe it’s something around the humor piece that we talked about.
Maybe you want to use the call back that Dan taught you. Maybe you want to just take a risk and be more bold and maybe tease someone. Try that stuff out, pick something, try it out, look for opportunities because that’s how you’re going to shift. That’s how you’re going to grow, that’s how you’re going to master this stuff. And I can’t wait to hear about it when you do. You can send me a message at shrinkfortheshyguy.com. Tell me about how your progress is going, how things are working out for you. I love reading those and until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome. Talk to you soon.
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