According to Boardman, a seemingly simple phrase can make all the difference in our communications: “Tell me more.”
You see, when you chat with others, it can be easy to breeze through a variety of subjects without delving further into any particular topic. And sometimes, that’s completely fine (i.e., discussing your schedule need not become a philosophical endeavor). But when we have the opportunity to cultivate a deeper exchange, this technique can be highly beneficial.
“Having frequent positive interactions with other people who also care about you is essential,” adds Boardman. “And so how do you create environments to have meaningful conversations? It’s really by paying attention…Usually good conversations involve more listening than talking.” So when you say to someone, tell me more, it signals to them that you value their words, that you’re truly listening to what they have to say—and those components are key to forming connections, even if the conversation itself isn’t deep or profound.
You don’t even have to have an hour-long conversation: Boardman explains that even five minutes is enough to be present with your loved ones. “Carve out five minutes of your day just to be present and have a conversation beyond the logistics of, Did we need to get the dishwasher fixed? and [allow] those types of conversations [to go] a little bit deeper,” she says. She even suggests having these conversations with people you might not know well: “Those casual interactions can be more meaningful if we pay a little bit more attention and are deliberate about it.”