How to Look Like You Give a Shit

People like that, y’know.

By The Editors
February 12, 2015 9:00 am

Because life doesn’t come with an instruction manual — and if it did, men wouldn’t read it anyway — we present Gimme Three Steps, an occasional series of how-to illustrations that has nothing to do with Lynyrd Skynyrd and everything to do with managing challenging situations with aplomb.

In the day-to-drudging-day of a man’s life, it’s tough to look like you give a shit.

About work. About other humans. About anything.

But you should try — you should really try — because how you look while you’re listening goes a long way towards influencing people’s reactions towards you.

And so, we present How to Look Like You Give a Shit, an actually-quite-useful guide to being a better conversation partner:

The protocol at play here is called RASA, an initialism1 for Receive, Appreciate, Summarize and Ask.2

Listening, after all, isn’t just about hearing someone.

It’s about showing someone that you hear them, and then giving them positive feedback along the way.

The better you make someone feel about talking to you, the more likely that person is to listen to you.

Or, as your correspondent’s father once said: “God gave you two ears and one mouth, which is a subtle sign you should listen more than you talk.”

Hey, dad was right.

Initialisms are abbreviations pronounced one letter at a time (like, say, DVD). Acronyms, by contrast, are abbreviations pronounced as words (like NATO).

2 Tip o’ the hat to Jordan Harbinger (“The Art of Charm”) and TED Talk alum/listening expert Julian Treasure.

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