3 Small Words That Inspire Conversation

January 11, 2015
Mary Jane Copps


One of the most important skills needed for excellent phone communication is the ability to inspire conversation. Whether you are on the phone with a client, prospect or your sister who lives in Australia, you want to create a “flow” of thoughts, ideas and information.

“If we enter into conversation with generosity, we give others the opportunity to tell us who they are,” says Shelagh Rogers, Canadian broadcaster and host of CBC Radio One’s The Next Chapter.

More important then telling our clients and prospects about ourselves, our services or our products, is our ability to learn about them, their challenges, goals and successes. This we accomplish through the art of conversation. And it is through conversation that we build strong relationships.

There are many ways to inspire conversation and I’ll share all of them with you in future posts, but this week I offer you one simple phrase. Keep it with you as you walk through the next few days and try it out from time to time. Use it on the phone, around the boardroom table, with your family and friends. Be present to what happens, to what you hear and learn.

The phrase? Tell me more. That’s it – so simple and compact. Tell me more about how you work with outside trainers. Tell me more about your staffing needs. Tell me more about how you analyze big data. Tell me more about your marketing efforts. Tell me more about your current financial plan. Tell me more about your dream home.

I began using this phrase as a journalist many years ago. I hear it used regularly by our country’s best broadcast journalists and Shelagh Rogers recently spoke about her first encounter with it  at  The Walrus Talks: The Art of Conversation (scroll down to hear Shelagh’s talk at the bottom of the page).

Tell me more.

Shelagh Rogers calls it a “muscular phase…an open-ended interview tool”, and in my experience it never fails to inspire conversation.

Enjoy your PhoneWork everyone!



  1. Debbie Brady says:

    What a great article. I look forward to the others on this topic. I very much enjoyed listening the Shelagh Rogers’ speech “The Interview Tool”. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • The Phone Lady says:

      It was a great talk, wasn’t it! I found all of those talks worth a listen. Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it.

  2. […] the full and original article posted January 11, […]

  3. […] it happen. In this previous post I’ve shared my favorite, conversation-inspiring phrase: Perhaps it will work for […]

  4. […] questions can be tainted by our assumptions and expectations and/or limit what will be shared. The phrase “Tell me more” gives the other person complete freedom to express themselves. It serves, and is most often […]

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