Charles Duhigg: Become a Superconnector, How to Build Lasting Relationships That Matter | E273

Charles Duhigg: Become a Superconnector, How to Build Lasting Relationships That Matter | E273

Charles Duhigg: Become a Superconnector, How to Build Lasting Relationships That Matter | E273

A few years ago, journalist and author Charles Duhigg was asked to help manage a complex work project. He drew up schedules and planned logistics. When a colleague told him they felt their suggestions were being ignored, Charles knew he had to face his own failures at communication. In this episode, Charles will explain how to ask the right questions, evaluate conversations, and build lasting connections by becoming a “supercommunicator.”

Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and the author of The Power of Habit, which spent over three years on New York Times bestseller lists. His second book, Smarter Faster Better, was also a New York Times bestseller. His latest book, Supercommunicators, is available February 20, 2024. Charles currently writes for The New Yorker magazine.


In this episode, Hala and Charles will discuss:

– How to tell if you’re a good communicator

– Why our brains crave connection

– What makes a “supercommunicator”

– Why you should ask deep questions

– How to prep a conversation

– Overcoming small talk

– How to talk about your life without bragging

– The 3 types of conversations

– And other topics…


Charles Duhigg is an American journalist and nonfiction author. He was a reporter for The New York Times and currently writes for The New Yorker Magazine. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School, Charles has been a frequent contributor to This American Life, NPR, The Colbert Report, PBS’s NewsHour, and Frontline.


Charles led the team that won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in explanatory journalism for “The iEconomy,” a series that examined the global economy through the lens of Apple. In 2013, Duhigg was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for a series of 10 articles on the business practices of Apple and other technology companies. His latest book (out on February 20, 2024) is Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection.


Resources Mentioned:

Charles’s Website:

Charles’s Twitter:

Charles’s Latest Book, Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection:


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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: Young and Profiters, welcome back to the show. And today I am honored to be interviewing for the second time, my favorite author, Charles Duhigg. Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer prize winning reporter. He currently writes for the New Yorker and he's the author of several best selling books, including The Power of Habit and Smarter, Faster, Better.

And his new book is called Super Communicators, which is going to be the focus of today's conversation. So Charles last came on and talked about productivity and habits. And today we're going to learn how to become better communicators. Charles, welcome to Young and Profiting Podcast. Thank 

[00:02:07]  Charles Duhigg: you for having me. This is such a 

[00:02:08] Hala Taha: treat. I'm so excited for this conversation. I always love having you on the show and it's great to see you again. So last time we opened up the conversation, we talked about the reporting you did in Iraq earlier in your career.

And this time I thought we could get into your writing background because we really didn't dig into that last time. Does that sound good? Absolutely. Okay, cool. So let's flashback a couple of decades. You got an undergraduate degree from Yale, you got an MBA from Harvard, those are really fancy degrees, but journalism was actually not the first thing you tried right out of school.

So can you talk to us about the career that you started with and how you landed in journalism? 

[00:02:47]  Charles Duhigg: I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and after I graduated from college, I went back there to start a company, actually with my family, and what we did is we built medical education campuses. And I started working on this from ground up.

It turned out to be successful, which was wonderful. But about three years in, I thought to myself, I really don't know what I'm doing. Like all of a sudden I was in these situations where I was being asked to be a leader and I had no idea how to do it. And so I decided to get an MBA and go back to business school.

And then halfway through business school, we sold the company. And so at that point I kind of had some freedom and I was trying to decide. Do I go into private equity? Cause I had spent the summer between first and second year of business school working with a real estate private equity group, or do I go into journalism?

And it was a really hard decision because I wasn't certain which one was the right one for me. Eventually I decided on journalism and honestly, it's been fantastic. I think the thing that. Made it the clear choice for me was that I wanted to do something different every day and I thought that journalism would offer that.

[00:03:52] Hala Taha: Yeah, but you know, as the old age saying goes, nothing that doesn't take hard work is worth it, right? And you actually struggled. Getting a job right out of school. So why do you think you struggled getting a job out of school? And can you talk to us about the experience that you had at the post? I graduated from 

[00:04:10]  Charles Duhigg: business school.

I went to go work at the Washington post. It was a summer internship and I was the lowest paid member of my HBS class by like tens of thousands of dollars. How did you know that? Oh, oh, I knew, I knew they told me they were like. Everybody's doing really well, except for Charles. You can't earn any money.

Some people didn't even get jobs. They just got married. But if you got a job, you earn more money than I did. And so I went to the post and what I had learned at business school was how to talk like a business person, but I hadn't learned how to talk like a journalist. And so about midway through my time at the post, you know, just the summer there.

They said, look, you're not coming off like a journalist. You're not coming off with the objectivity that we need you to when you're speaking to people and when you're interviewing people. And so they didn't offer me a job and everyone else who had done that internship got offered a job except for me.

And I was like, oh man, like I clearly am. Screwing this up. But then my then fiance and now wife was going to Stanford for graduate school. And so I was like, okay, this is fine. I really want to be in California anyways. And I started talking to the LA times and the LA times said, well, we don't have any jobs on like the business desk.

But we have a job in the outdoors section. Now I hate camping. I like literally despise camping and I was like, okay, I'm the right guy. Cause I, I love the outdoors. I'm great at it. And so that's how I joined the LA times. And eventually I went to the business desk. And then from there, I went to the New York Times and now the New Yorker.


[00:05:38] Hala Taha: question for you, because I feel like we probably have a lot of young listeners tuning in and everybody has faced rejection. I faced rejection. I'm a top podcaster now. I got rejected from satellite radio, terrestrial radio, TV, and then I just had to create my own thing to become successful. How did you take that criticism and turn it into something constructive?

That criticism from the post. Do you remember actually taking that constructively or were you kind of just like, Oh, screw them and did your own thing? Like, how did you get over that hump? 

[00:06:10]  Charles Duhigg: I've experienced a lot of rejection and because anytime that you are a successful person, you have to experience rejection.

That's how you know that you're pushing yourself to do something new and interesting. And I have this routine I go through whenever I get bad news, which is, on the day I get that news, I don't make myself think about it. Instead, I go and I like, have a really nice dinner, or I go see a movie. I do something just to make myself feel better.

Maybe go for a run. Then the next morning when I wake up, what I do is I sit down and I think to myself, how can I prove this person wrong? Now that doesn't mean that they're wrong right now. It means that the advice they gave me, the feedback is actually really useful advice. But what do I need to change about myself or how I do work so that six months from now, three months from now, two years from now, they're not right anymore.

And once I frame it that way, then it's not really a criticism because they're not commenting on who I am. They're commenting on who I am before I become the person that I can become. And in that case, it's a gift. 

[00:07:12] Hala Taha: It's so powerful what you're saying because you're like not taking it personally. You're not letting it beat you down.

You're letting yourself. Get rid of the emotion regarding to it, calm down and then just figure out like, okay, how can I actually be better? How can I learn from the mistakes that I 

[00:07:26]  Charles Duhigg: made? That's exactly right. That's exactly right. We have this saying I have two kids who are 12 and 15, which is it's only a mistake if you don't learn something from it.

And the thing is, you kind of have to really commit to that in life, right? My wife is a scientist. She does bench science. And if every experiment that she did succeeded, she would be the worst scientist on earth, right? That's not how you do science. You do science because some things succeed and some things fail and you learn from the failures and then you figure out why the successes are happening.

And I think we have to have that same attitude in our life, which is to see ourself as a series of experiments. And when something fails, it does not mean you did something wrong. It doesn't mean you're bad. It means you just learned how to succeed if you use it. 

[00:08:13] Hala Taha: Totally. And what I always say in terms of failures, at least you had the opportunity to fail.

If you're getting a lot of failures, that means that you're probably also getting a lot of opportunities. And you know, sometimes you win them. Sometimes you lose them. 

[00:08:25]  Charles Duhigg: Yeah, I think that's exactly 

[00:08:26] Hala Taha: right. So I want to share something with my listeners about you and how meaningful you are to my life, because before I actually started this podcast in 2018.

The Power of Habit was actually my favorite book and I had it on Audible and I used to listen to it like every three months and I would just, I would listen to it so many times. And you were actually somebody that I wanted on my show for many years. I had you on the show, I think last year, but it took many years to actually get you on.

And it's because you were one of my favorite authors ever. And I do feel like the principles that I learned in that book really shaped who I was and really transformed my life. Thank you. And so, first of all, thank you for that incredible book. No, 

[00:09:10]  Charles Duhigg: thank you for saying that. That is so nice to hear and so kind of you to share.


[00:09:15] Hala Taha: you. Of course. And so now you've got this new book called Super Communicators. And I'm curious to understand, how do you go about deciding what books you're going to write? Because I believe this is your third book now. How do you go about deciding what you're going to write 

[00:09:28]  Charles Duhigg: next? Well, usually what I do is I try and figure out what I'm bad at and then write a book to get better at it.

And actually that's what happened with Super Communicators is that I fell into this bad pattern where I would come home after a tough day and I would complain to my wife about my boss or my co workers and she would respond with very good practical advice. She would say, why don't you take your boss out to lunch and you guys can get to know each other better.

And instead of being able to hear her I would get even more upset and I would say, why aren't you supporting me? You're supposed to be outraged on my behalf. And then she would get upset because I was acting irrationally. this happened all the time. This happened with my kids. Sometimes this happened at work.

I was at the times and they made me a manager and I was good at like the strategy parts and much worse than I thought I would be at the communication parts, the managing other people parts, which was surprising to me because I'm supposed to be a professional communicator. And so what I figured was, why don't I start?

Calling up all the top experts on communication and ask them this basic question, what am I doing wrong? Or sometimes I'd say, I have this friend with a problem, can you tell me? But usually I'd say, I have this issue, tell me what I'm doing wrong. And that was the birth of the book. 

[00:10:41] Hala Taha: Let me dig into this a bit because, like you said, you're a professional writer, you're an author, you're a journalist.

What's the difference between in person conversations and written conversation? 

[00:10:51]  Charles Duhigg: There's a lot of differences. And I think taking a step back, let's talk about what conversations are in general, because this is one of the first big insights that I learned from the researchers that I talked to is they said, we're living through this golden age of understanding communication because of advances in neural imaging and data collection.

And they said, most people think of a discussion as being about one thing. I'm complaining about my day, or we're talking about where to go on vacation, but actually every discussion is made up of different kinds of conversations. And these different kinds of conversations use different parts of our brain.

And they, in general, fall into one of three buckets. There's usually conversations that are practical about making plans or solving problems. There's conversations that are emotional, where I might tell you what I'm feeling, and I don't want you to solve my problem. I just want you to empathize. And then there's conversations that are social about how we relate to each other and how we relate to society.

And what they said is, if you're not having the same kind of conversation at the same time, you're not really able to connect with each other. You have trouble hearing each other because different parts of your brain are operating than the person you're talking to, which is exactly what was happening with my wife and myself, right?

I would come home and I was having an emotional conversation, and she responded with a practical conversation. And both of those are totally valid discussions, but because we weren't having the same conversation at the same moment, we couldn't really hear each other. And so I think the takeaway from that is, whether it's spoken communication, whether it's online communication, whether it's written communication, we have to figure out what kind of conversation is this, and then recognize that there's slightly different rules for different types of discussions.

And once we know those rules, and that's kind of what super communicators is, is explaining how different kinds of conversations work. Then we know how to match the person we're talking to and invite them to match us. 

[00:12:41] Hala Taha: I love this. And as you know, I do my research. So I knew about the three conversation types, and we're going to dig into that in detail later on in the conversation, but first want to get foundational.

So let's start off with this term that you use throughout the book. It's the title of the book, super communicator. Let's talk about what a super communicator looks like. And you talk about this man named Felix who works for an FBI crisis negotiation unit. Can you talk to us about Felix and why he was so fascinating?

[00:13:10]  Charles Duhigg: Felix is this wonderful guy who literally everyone loves talking to. And as a result, when there was ever a. Really tough situation. They needed a witness who was terrified to come testify. They needed to talk someone down who was having trouble after FBI shootings. They would frequently ask Felix to come in to talk to the person who had been the shooter to help them relax and help them recount what happened.

And it's interesting because we all know Felix's like if I was to ask you if you were having a really bad day, who would you call to make yourself feel better that, you know, talking to them would just help. Does someone come into your mind immediately? Yeah, 

[00:13:48] Hala Taha: definitely. Yeah. Who is it? Kate. My business partner.

[00:13:53]  Charles Duhigg: Okay. And so for you, Kate is a super communicator and you're probably a super communicator back to Kate. You guys are able to connect with each other the same way that Felix can connect with nearly anyone. Now, the difference is that there are some people who are consistently good at this. People who can connect with almost anyone in any setting, even when the gulf between them seems impossibly wide.

And those people are consistent super communicators, and you're exactly right that they're different from the rest of us, but in ways that are surprising, not necessarily in the ways we expect. Felix, 

[00:14:25] Hala Taha: I know, was really good at creating an atmosphere of trust. What are the ways that he was able to do that, where people would give him information, even come out with their hands up if like they were in a sticky situation, like how is he able to build that trust with other people?

[00:14:41]  Charles Duhigg: So he would do two things in particular that were really powerful. And this is habits that we know most super communicators have. The first is he asked a lot of questions and super communicators in general ask 10 to 20 times as many questions as the average person. And some of them are questions we hardly even register.

There are things like, Hey, what do you make of that? Or, Oh, what happened next? Because those are questions that invite us in to the conversation. But then some of the questions are what are known as deep questions. And a deep question is something that asks about someone's Values, beliefs, or experiences.

And what's powerful about this is that they're really easy to ask and they help someone share who they are. So if I bumped into someone and I said, Oh, what do you do for a living? And they say, Oh, I'm a doctor. Then if I was to say as a deep question, Oh yeah, what made you decide to go to medical school?

Do you love your job? What's the best part about it? Those are relatively easy questions to ask and to answer, but what they do is they invite the other person to talk about their beliefs that led them to medical school, what they love about their job, their experiences when they go in every day. And once they share that with me, if I reciprocate that vulnerability, if I share something meaningful about myself.

Then our brains are hardwired to trust each other a little bit more. And that's exactly what Felix would do. He would ask these deep questions and then he would listen closely. He would reciprocate what he had just heard in terms of sharing something about himself. But most importantly, he often would prove that he was listening.

And this is particularly true when we're in a tense conversation or when we're in some conflict and we need to work it through with someone. Oftentimes, when we're listening, we think that we are signaling that we're listening, right? We shake our heads up and down, we smile, we make eye contact, but the speaker, the speaker doesn't really notice any of that because talking is such a cognitively intense activity.

So, in order to prove that we're listening, to show someone we're listening, what matters is what we do after they finish speaking. And at that moment, If you ask questions, if you engage in something known as looping for understanding, if you prove to them that you heard what they just said, they will feel like you are listening closely and again, feel closer to you, more trusting, they'll like you more, and they'll be more willing and eager to listen to you in return.

So this reminds 

[00:17:00] Hala Taha: me of something that Chris Voss taught me called mirroring, where you just repeat the last three things that somebody said, three words that somebody said. And you kind of just turn it back on them to just give you more information. Is that what looping the conversation 

[00:17:14]  Charles Duhigg: is? Not really. No.

So looping for anything a little bit different, and I love Chris's work and I think Chris is fantastic. I think that technique is really useful when you're in a con, not necessarily a conversation, but when you're trying. to establish something with someone, right? But let's say we're in a conversation where we want to understand each other really well.

Looping for understanding has three steps, and it's similar but a little bit different. The first step is to ask a question, and preferably a deep question if you can. The second step Is to repeat back in your own words, what you heard the person say. So instead of just repeating the last three words that they said, actually say, you know, hollow, what I hear you saying is that we need to connect with each other or we should go out to Indian food tonight or really anything.

And then the third step, the third step is to ask if you got it right. And this is the step that most people often forget. And the distinction here is that when you loop for understanding, you're doing more than just. Creating a way to have a conversation with the other person. You're proving to them that you're listening closely.

You're proving to them that your goal is to understand what they are saying. And that's really powerful because oftentimes when we're in a tough conversation, when we're in conflict. Part of our brain is wondering, is this person actually listening to me, or are they just waiting their turn to speak? So you're basically 

[00:18:35] Hala Taha: validating, like, hey, I heard you, I'm summarizing it now for you, can you validate that I actually have this correct?

[00:18:44]  Charles Duhigg: That's exactly right. And by the way, that doesn't mean you have to agree with them. It doesn't mean that simply because I understand what you're saying, you and I believe the same thing. But it does mean that I have shown you before I tell you that I don't agree with you, that at least I have heard closely and listened closely to what you said, so that I could really evaluate it instead of just assuming that you're wrong.


[00:19:07] Hala Taha: And now that you explained it, it's totally different from mirroring, which is basically a way to just get more information to, Toss it back to them in a way that's just like vague where they give you more information. That's exactly 

[00:19:17]  Charles Duhigg: right. And if you're talking to a car salesman or someone like that, then Chris's technique is perfect because what you want to do is you want to get them to give you more information than you're giving them.

But in a conversation, when we're looking to connect with someone, particularly meaningfully. We actually want to do the opposite. We want to share who we are and really learn who they are. 

[00:19:45]  Charles Duhigg: So can you talk 

[00:19:45] Hala Taha: to us about the signals that people give us that show us that we are a super communicator? 

[00:19:52]  Charles Duhigg: One of the things that happens when you're super communicator is that lots of people call you and ask you for advice, right?

Or they call you and they just want to chat. And in part, it's the same reason that you love to call your business partner, right? Which is that, you know, when you call them up, they're going to listen to you. And they're going to tell you honestly. What they think about your situation and they're going to celebrate with you, or they're going to console you if it's been a hard day.

So that's one of the things that happens. Now, what's interesting is. When we look at super communicators, we see some sort of consistent behaviors beyond asking deep questions and beyond looping for understanding. As I mentioned, they ask a lot of questions, but super communicators also tend to laugh more or console more than the average person.

And this is interesting because Laughter is one of these things where about 80 percent of the time when we laugh, it is not in response to anything funny. Rather, we're laughing in a conversation to show someone that we want to connect with them. And they laugh back to show us that they want to connect in return.

And super communicators understand this. They're very attuned to emotional Conversation to non linguistic or non verbal emotional signals. And so if someone laughs, they laugh back. They often laugh easily. If someone mentions something like, Oh, man, I went to my son's graduation this weekend. It was awesome.

Instead of just saying, Oh, that sounds great. Congratulations. They say, Oh, yeah. What was that like? Like, what did you feel when you watched him walk across the stage? They hear emotional suggestions in people's language because emotions influence everything we say and do. And they invest and lean into those in a way that invites the other person to share what's most meaningful about themselves.


[00:21:35] Hala Taha: I feel like this is a really important point that I just want to highlight. You're saying don't just ask shallow questions. Actually ask emotional questions. Can you just shed some more color on 

[00:21:47]  Charles Duhigg: that? Yeah, and the way to think about it is, don't ask someone about the facts of their life. Ask them how they feel about their life.

Right? Instead of saying, Oh, where do you live? You can say, Oh, what do you love about where you live? What's that neighborhood like? Why'd you decide to move there? Because when you do that, if someone just says, Oh, I live in Santa Cruz. Oh, okay. That's sort of a conversational dead end. But if someone says, Oh man, the thing I love about Santa Cruz is.

Everyone there is just very focused on community and the quality of life is really high. Like when I'm in traffic, people just let me in. No one ever honks their horn. Now, if somebody said that, I know so much about them. I know that they value community. I know that they value politeness. I know that they are living in a place that they deliberately chose to live in, rather than moving there for their job.

They've told me so much about themselves. And it makes it very natural for me to reciprocate by saying, Oh man, you know, the reason I live in Los Angeles is, we don't have as good traffic as Santa Cruz, but also I do feel like I have this community around me. I have all these people who support me and want to help me be successful.

I can answer the same question that I just asked. Very easily. And now we know something about each other. Now we're moving towards what's known as neural entrainment, which is at the key of communication and connection. 

[00:23:08] Hala Taha: I want to talk about neural entrainment later on, but what you just said sparked some ideas for me, and I just wanted to get some more clarification.

So like you just said. When you ask these deep questions that trigger emotions, people really give more information. And in my opinion, when I hear this, they're basically giving you more things that you can relate to and find common ground with. Because even if you don't live in Santa Cruz for their specific reasons, maybe you live in your town because of similar reasons, and you can find that common ground, which is very important to connect with people.

We all know that's a very important thing to do when you're networking with new people and finding common ground, right? So, You're able to just get more information where you can potentially relate. 

[00:23:51]  Charles Duhigg: Yeah. You're exactly right that finding things that we have in common is really, really important. And oftentimes, we might not live in the same place, but we've experienced similar things.

And if we talk about those experiences, we can find similarities. There's another element of deep questions that makes them powerful, which is that when I tell you why I love living in the place where I love, I'm actually Exposing a little bit of a vulnerability. Now, it's not like it's a vulnerability you can like weaponize against me.

And frankly, I don't even care if you judge me. But the act of exposing a vulnerability, the act of saying something personal, it feels meaningful. And when the other person clearly hears that, and they respond with something personal themselves, it makes us feel like we're on the same wavelength. So this vulnerability is really important.

Super communicators have trained themselves to hear little bits of vulnerability in what people say. And then to say, I recognize what you just did, that wasn't hugely hard, but it was harder than just telling me where you live. And I'm going to acknowledge that by doing the same thing myself, by telling you something personal about myself, because our brains are designed to listen to vulnerability more than any other kind of conversation.


[00:25:07] Hala Taha: I've been talking to all these communication experts, like I've been doing this podcast for six years. And something that I always hear is like, you need to listen. It's not about you asking questions. You need to listen. And a lot of the feedback that I get is don't talk about yourself. Just make it about the other person, make it about the other person.

But in your work, it was a lot about relate back with your own experiences. So I wanted to highlight that because this to me is like sort of a new learning that I'm learning. We've been hearing a lot to just listen, why is it important to also talk about yourself? 

[00:25:40]  Charles Duhigg: Well, because most of the time when we have a conversation, it's not an interview, right?

In fact, we've all been in that situation where we meet someone new and they just ask us like question after question. And after a while, we're like, come on, man, I want to just have a chat with you. I don't want to be like interrogated. And sometimes I'm a reporter. Sometimes interrogation is important, right?

Sometimes we should just ask questions. But if we want to connect with someone, if we want to have a real conversation, if we want to have something meaningful. Then it's not enough to ask you about yourself, I have to share who I am, because as much as I'm looking for things we have in common, you're looking for things we have in common too.

You're trying to evaluate, is this someone I actually want to invest in? Is this a conversation I want to continue? In fact, there was this really interesting study that was done by some folks at Harvard where they looked at speed daters, and they were trying to figure out why were some people so successful that during a speed date afterwards The other person would say, I want to have another date with them.

And what they found is that the most successful speed daters. We're people who did two things. First of all, they asked follow up questions. So if I asked you a question about your work and you said something, I asked a follow up question, which is a form of looping for understanding, to show that I was paying attention, to show I was listening.

But then number two is they would answer that same question for themselves. Even if it was unasked, because then it feels like we have some equity in this discussion, right? Then it feels like we're both part of building something together. So I would say, no, you should talk about yourself. You should share things about yourself because not only is it going to be interesting to the listeners because they know you and they like you.

But also it's going to draw things out of your guest that they might not otherwise be willing to share. I 

[00:27:24] Hala Taha: like this because it feels like it's not manipulative and it's a two way conversation and it's a very honest conversation. Now you say, and we've talked about it a lot so far, that connection is really one of the most important aspects of having a good, meaningful conversation.

Why is it that our brains crave connection so much? 

[00:27:44]  Charles Duhigg: It's really interesting. So, communication is Homo sapiens superpower. It is the reason why our species has succeeded so well, compared to other species, is because we can communicate with each other better than any other animal on this planet. And as a result, we were able to build families, and then communities, and eventually cities and countries, right?

Communication is what has allowed us to succeed so well. And the way that that happened is that as the human brain evolved, the individuals who wanted to connect with others, they had the highest survival rates. And so that desire for connection became hardwired into our brains. Just think of the last, like, great conversation you had with someone.

You probably felt wonderful afterwards, right? Like you felt so good and the reason why is because our brain is actually designed to want those kinds of conversations. Our brain wants to connect with other people and we all have the instincts. We've evolved the instincts to do that. Sometimes we just need to give our brain a little bit of space so that it can remember those instincts.

And that's why I wrote super communicators is because if you learn how conversations work and you learn the right skills. Then you can learn how to let your instincts take over 

[00:28:57] Hala Taha: and speaking of these natural instincts, right, when we're having a conversation where there's deep connection, there's actually biological signals like you were talking about earlier, called neural entrainment.

That's exactly right examples of what 

[00:29:10]  Charles Duhigg: happens. So when you're having a real conversation with someone, your body and your brain changes. And in fact, it's probably happening right now. You and I are separated by thousands of miles, but if we could measure it, what we would see is. Our pupils are starting to dilate at similar rates.

Our breath patterns and heart rates are starting to match each other. And most importantly, if we could see inside our brains, what we would see is my neural activity and your neural activity are becoming more and more similar. When you think about it, that's what communication is. I can describe a feeling, or I can describe an experience.

And you actually feel that same thing. You feel what it's like to have that experience. That's when we're sharing something. When we do that, our brains actually become entrained. If we were looking at brainwaves, what we would see is that we start thinking alike, and the more we get synchronized, The better we understand each other, and this is what super communicators recognize better than anyone else, is that the goal of a conversation is to understand another person and connect with them and help them understand you.

It's not to change someone's mind, it's not even necessarily to find common ground, because there might not be common ground on the issues you care about. If you understand them and they understand you, you'll become aligned, and once you're aligned, We actually biochemically feel closer and more trusting with each other.


[00:30:33] Hala Taha: does this neural entrainment, can this happen in group 

[00:30:36]  Charles Duhigg: settings? Yeah, all the time. Think about like going to a really great lecture and the person on the stage is telling an emotional story and everyone in that audience is caught up in it. They're feeling the same grief or pity or sympathy that the speaker is describing.

Think about going to a concert where we're listening to music together. And we all feel like we're somehow connected. We're all dancing at the same beat. This neural entrainment actually happens all the time. And we're not really aware of it when it happens. But if we become aware of it, if we know that that's the goal, then we can make it more likely.

And it's particularly powerful when we're in those situations where we're desperate to connect with someone. And we're struggling to do so, because that's how we break through. 

[00:31:24] Hala Taha: Okay, so let's look at it from the flip side. We're having a conversation and we're obviously not connecting with the other person.

What are the ways that we can tell that we're not being successful and we need to figure out how to better align and connect? 

[00:31:37]  Charles Duhigg: I mean, I think that we can feel it, right? Like, everyone's had those conversations where I really want to connect with you. And like, I ask a question and you're like, Yeah, I guess.

And then you bring up a topic and I'm like, I don't actually like sports that much. I don't know anything about what you're talking about. We've all felt that, that when we fail to connect. And so the question is, what do we do at that moment? Right. And there's a couple of things. The first is not everything has to be a conversation when I'm talking to my kids and I say, I want to talk to you about your rooms.

I don't actually want to have a conversation with them about their rooms. I just want them to go clean their room. So not everything has to be a conversation. And sometimes if you're at a bar and you're not having fun, you can just go home. That's totally fine. But let's say we do want to connect with this person and we're having trouble doing so.

So what should we do? The first thing that we should do is we should try and figure out what kind of conversation is happening right now. Is this person in a practical mindset? Are they in an emotional mindset? A social mindset? And the way we do that is by asking those deep questions. Get the other person talking about what they make of the world, so that you can understand how they see themselves and they see other people.

Once that's happened, prove that you're listening. Repeat back to them, even maybe just by asking a follow up question, to show that you're listening, because that's going to mean that they're more willing to listen to you. And then finally, look for those non verbal opportunities. To connect with someone.

So if you ask them, Hey, what'd you do last weekend? And they say, Oh, it was actually, there's a tough weekend. There was like some stuff going on. It might feel much more comfortable to be like, Oh, that's too bad. So did you see the game? What a super communicator do would say, Oh man, I'm sorry to hear that.

I know how it can be tough. Sometimes I've been through that myself. If, if it's ever something you want to talk about, I'm happy to do so right now, we're acknowledging that we've heard them and we've seen them and we saw an opportunity for connection and we invited them to connect with us. They might not want to, it might be too personal, it might be too raw, but now they know that you're open to that.

And so, they probably will start getting more real with you. I love this 

[00:33:43] Hala Taha: example because I've been told in the past, when I was younger, Oh, you talk too much about yourself, you're too braggy, cause I'm like, you know, very confident. But I feel like if you are in a conversation, also sharing the bad with the good, then you're able to connect with people.

I feel like you need to make sure that you're also sharing your failures and mistakes to connect 

[00:34:05]  Charles Duhigg: with folks. Absolutely. In fact, we know that if you share your failures, people will actually like you more than if you share your successes. Exactly. Now, that being said, one of the things that's interesting is.

Even for ourselves, if we describe how we feel about our life, rather than the facts of our life, then it doesn't sound braggy to the other person. Because the only person who's an expert on you is you. You have every single right to talk about how you feel about your siblings, or your parents, or where you grew up, or your job, and what you like and what you don't like about it.

When people share that with themselves, it doesn't seem like they're bragging. It seems like they're sharing something real. And it's because instead of telling them, Oh, you know, actually I'm a VP. Oh, I won this award last year. You're saying, Oh, actually what I like about my job is I get to talk to different people every single day, which is super fascinating and it's really hard.

I find myself half the time. Doing a bad job, but I feel like I learn from it. Like I'm surrounded by people who make me better. That second thing, that didn't seem braggy at all, right? No, not at all. Because I talked about how I feel about my life rather than the facts of my life. 

[00:35:13] Hala Taha: Okay, so let's move on to these three types of conversations.

 You say, the first one is, what's this really about? It's practical decision making conversations. Then we've got the how do we feel conversations, which are emotional. And then the who are we conversations, which are really social conversations. So really what I got from these three types of conversations is that we need to have connection, which is super important, but then we also need to have alignment.

And those are the two main things that we need to have for effective conversations. That's exactly right. So let's start off with the, what's this really about conversation. Can you give us an example of this type of conversation and why you say that this is really about negotiation, this type of conversation?

[00:36:03]  Charles Duhigg: One easy way to remember those three kinds of conversations, this is something that they teach in schools now is to ask someone, do you want to be. Helped. Do you want to be heard or do you want to be hugged? Mmm. I love that. And that corresponds to the three, the practical, the emotional, and the social conversation.

So let's talk about helped. You're exactly right that in this, what's this really about conversation? There's what's known in psychology as a silent negotiation that takes place. Now when we hear the word negotiation, we think that the goal is to kind of win something, right? But that's not how a silent negotiation works.

The goal of a silent negotiation is for everyone in that conversation to figure out what everyone else wants from the discussion. And sometimes it's really easy to figure that out. Sometimes we can say things like, do you want to be helped, hugged, or heard? Or do you want me to solve this problem for you?

Or do you just need to vent and you just want me to listen? And it feels good to be asked that. Because sometimes the person who's complaining, they haven't figured out what they want until you ask. Sometimes it's hard to ask that question. And so, in those moments, what we should look for is we should conduct experiments.

And these experiments tell us not only what we want to talk about, but how to communicate with each other. And these experiments can be things like, when we start talking, I'm going to interrupt you and I'm going to notice if you kind of dig that, like if we can jump in after each other or, or you stop talking altogether, which says like, oh, no, no, we need to take our turns.

I might tell a joke to see if this is a casual conversation or a formal conversation. These little experiments, we often do them almost subconsciously, almost without even thinking about it. The difference is that super communicators pay more attention to them. And when an experiment doesn't work, that's okay.

They take that as a lesson that they can learn from rather than a mistake. And how would we go about 

[00:37:56] Hala Taha: preparing for a conversation like 

[00:37:59]  Charles Duhigg: this? There's been a bunch of experiments about this and. There's two that I love in particular. One of them is from some researchers at Harvard business school where they were going to have a bunch of students have conversations with strangers.

And this is the kind of thing that causes a lot of anxiety. Normally, when people have these kinds of conversations with someone that they don't know, they get very uneasy about them. And so they went ahead and they asked people to have these conversations. But before they did, they told them write down three topics that you might want to discuss during this conversation.

It only took about 10 seconds, right? People would scribble down, Oh, you know, last night's game. And what are you doing this weekend? Something like that. And then, then they put those cards or that little scribbled piece of paper in their pocket, and they would go and have conversations with strangers. And what's interesting is oftentimes the topics that they wrote down.

Um, Never came up, they never even mentioned them, but the fact that they had decided ahead of time what they might talk about made them much less anxious. And so as a result, the conversations went much, much better. The second experiment that I love on this is that some researchers went into an investment bank where people just screamed at each other all the time.

There were lots of fights that would break out and they told everyone, okay, this week, before you go into a meeting, write down just one sentence, write down what you hope to accomplish in this conversation or this meeting. And the mood you hope to establish. So people started doing that. And what they found is again, they'd go into the meeting and they just stick the card in their pocket.

They wouldn't tell anyone else what they wrote, but because everyone knew what they wanted. They were able to communicate that more easily to each other. And the incidence of conflict went down 80%. Oh, wow. So before you start a conversation, it's worth taking five to 10 seconds just to ask yourself, why am I opening my mouth?

What do I hope comes out of this conversation? What do I want? Is there a way that I can signal to the other person what I want? Is there a way that I can ask them what they want? Because that will remove a huge amount of miscommunication. And it makes that negotiation, that quiet negotiation go really smoothly.


[00:40:05] Hala Taha: makes sense because basically you're just being intentional, right? You're thinking ahead, being a little bit intentional. Even if you don't stick to your bullet points or whatever, at least you have thought about it a little bit and you're coming a little bit more prepared to the conversation. 

[00:40:19]  Charles Duhigg: That's exactly right.

That's exactly right. And again, it takes five to 10 seconds to do this, but it's shown to correlate with so much greater success and so much super communication. 

[00:40:31] Hala Taha: Okay, so let's move on to the, how do we feel conversations? Can you give us some examples about this? And can you give us some insight about how we can be more forthcoming with our own feelings and conversations?

[00:40:42]  Charles Duhigg: Yeah, the first thing is just to listen for the emotions, right? Or look for them. There's something interesting about nonverbal communication, which is when we're babies and children, we tend to notice nonverbal communication. Almost all the time. So if our parents are frowning, the baby will frown as well.

If you smile at a baby, the baby just smiles back at you, right? It's this instinct for almost emotional mimicry. But then as we get older, we tend to stop paying attention to nonverbal displays of emotion because words are so powerful that we. Become entranced by them. So instead of looking at the fact that someone has their arms crossed and they look disappointed and gazing downwards, and we ask them, how you doing?

And they say, Oh, I'm fine. I'm feeling really good. We listened to the words and assume the words are true instead of paying attention to their body, which is telling us a different story. And so the first thing that we can do is we can just train ourselves to look for how someone is communicating with us and try and infer what they're feeling.

Based on their behavior as opposed to the content of their words. And there's two things in particular that it's really useful to look at. Energy and mood. So, is somebody high energy or low energy? Are they positive mood or are they negative mood? Let's say they're high intensity and they're negative mood.

That means that they're angry. But if they're low intensity and negative mood, that means they're sad. And we want to respond and treat someone who's angry different from someone who's sad. And so if we just train ourselves to pay attention to these two things, to ask ourselves, based on how this person is acting as opposed to what they're saying, what is their energy intensity and what is their mood, we'll figure out pretty quickly what emotions they're feeling and then we'll be able to match that.

[00:42:31] Hala Taha: And so with this, how do we feel conversation from my understanding, it feels like we're not there to give them advice. We're there to absorb and listen and maybe give our own perspective about how we've dealt with similar things. Whereas the first conversation seemed like we might have to solution or problem solve together with a person.

Is that right? 

[00:42:50]  Charles Duhigg: Yeah, When we're in a practical mindset, we want to make plans. We want to find solutions. But when we're in an emotional mindset, when we're having an emotional conversation, what we want Is we want to know that we've been heard. We want the other person just to show us. They hear what we're saying and they empathize.

They understand maybe they've even experienced that themselves. We just want to know that our emotions are valid. 

[00:43:14] Hala Taha: Now, what advice do you have for people in a work environment to have these, how we feel conversations? Is there anything we need to keep in mind? 

[00:43:22]  Charles Duhigg: Yeah, I mean, and there's a lot of research on this, obviously, different environments and different identities require different strengths and weaknesses.

For instance, we know that if men cry at work, it's seen as a sign of leadership and their dedication. And if women cry at work, it's seen as a sign of weakness. And so. We don't necessarily want to have the same emotional behaviors at work, depending on who we are. It's also, if you're lower power and you cry, it's seen as negative, and if you're higher power and you cry, it's seen as positive.

Now, I'm not saying anyone should be crying at work, because obviously most workplaces can't accommodate that very well. But think for a minute about when we're at work, how frequently we're in that practical mindset, how frequently we're saying, okay, let's have the meeting, let's decide on the budget, let's figure things out.

And what we're not doing is sometimes we're not asking those deep questions that allow people to share how they're feeling. So we come in and the agenda says the goal here is to decide on the budget for next year, but it becomes obvious pretty quickly if you listen for it. That what people are really concerned about is, are there going to be layoffs if we have this budget?

Are we going to have to fire some people? And so just engaging with that, listening for that anxiety, listening for joy and happiness, listening for any kind of emotional signal, and then, then just taking a beat and saying, look. You sound concerned. Tell me why what's going on that makes you worried. And then just listen, you don't have to solve their problem.

You don't have to solve their emotion for them, but once they've shared with you, I'm really worried because if we have these budget cuts, I think it's inevitable. We're gonna have to lay people off. Then you can say, look, I totally hear that. I'm worried about that too. I want to avoid letting people off.

Let's figure out how we create this budget in a way minimizes the chances of that as much as possible because you and I, we have the same worry. I validate what you're feeling and I want you to know I've heard it. That's really productive. That's really useful, particularly at work. 

[00:45:28] Hala Taha: So with these how do we feel conversations, I know one of the keys is to ask questions that really will draw people's emotions.

How can we do that in a way that's not so obvious? Like what are the types of questions that we can ask? 

[00:45:40]  Charles Duhigg: Honestly, the easiest question to ask is what do you make of that? So at the core of all deep questions is basically that question. What do you make of that? So if someone says. Here's a budget, but I, you know, there's some issues with it.

Before you describe the issues, what do you make of this budget? What do you think about it? It's such an open ended question, it invites other people to come in. One of the stories in the book is about this doctor named Dr. Bafar Adai, who is a prostate surgeon for people who have prostate cancer in New York City.

And he found that he kept on giving some patients advice that they didn't need surgery, and they wouldn't be able to hear him. They would insist on getting surgery. And so he talked to these communication experts and they told him, the problem is, you are assuming you know what the patient wants, that they want medical advice, but that's clearly not what they actually want at first.

The only way you can figure out what they want, what they're feeling, is to ask them a general question. So from now on, the question you should ask is, I know you got a cancer diagnosis. Tell me what this diagnosis means to you. And suddenly all of his patients would start saying these amazing things. He expected them to talk about like medical questions or pain, but they would say things like, you know, My dad died when I was young and it really hurt my mom and it took her years to recover and I don't want to do that to my wife or the reason this is important to me is because I'm concerned for my grandchildren because of climate change, right?

That has nothing to do with prostate surgery. Now, Dr. Adai knows where their heads at. They need to have an emotional conversation before they can talk about medical options because they're worried. They're concerned. They don't care about Whether they're going to feel pain, they care about how to spare their wife and their kids from trauma and sadness.

So just asking someone, what do you make of this? That's the most powerful thing we can do. 

[00:47:37]  Charles Duhigg: And so on 

[00:47:37] Hala Taha: the opposite spectrum of what's not so powerful is small talk. Can you talk to us about why small talk is a waste of time when you're trying to have a meaningful conversation? 

[00:47:46]  Charles Duhigg: Yeah, no, it's a great question because small talk is oftentimes the enemy.

 Small talk is when we ask about the facts of someone's life, right? Hey, where do you work? Hey, where do you live? Those are dead ends. There's nothing to say there. And it's very hard to ask a follow up question. It's very hard to volunteer something about yourself. The thing about small talk is that any small talk can be made into deep talk very, very easily.

There was this guy named Nicholas Epley at the University of Chicago who studies deep questions. And sometimes he says he gets on a bus. And he'll set a goal for himself of having one deep conversation within the first five minutes of being on that bus. And so he'll sit down next to someone, a stranger, and he'll say to them, What do you do for a living?

And they say, Oh, I'm, I'm a janitor. Or, I'm an office assistant. And he says, Oh, really? you like that job? Is it fun for you? How did you decide to take that job? What was the path to doing it? And within five minutes, these people are talking about their marriages, they're talking about the countries they came from, they're talking about all their experiences and sharing these things because we want to share, we like to share.

And the key is anytime you're having small talk, you can make it deep talk just by asking a question. 

[00:49:03] Hala Taha: Okay, let's move on to the third and final type of question, the who are we conversation. How do we know when we're in a who are we conversation? 

[00:49:12]  Charles Duhigg: So a who are we conversation is really interesting. It's a social conversation.

It's when we're talking about how we relate to others and how we relate to each other and society relates to us. And the way that you know, you're in one is that oftentimes issues of identity will come up and this word identity can seem sort of daunting. But what all that really means is for instance, somebody says, you know, as a dad.

It's interesting to hear you say that because I'm thinking about X or when we engage in office gossip, accounting, those guys in accounting, they're nuts. I'm really glad I'm here in marketing, right? Anytime we talk about groups and our membership in groups or we talk about other people, we're having a social conversation.

And the key in that conversation is to remember and to help us recognize that none of us is just one person. None of us is just one identity. You know, this happens a lot with conversations around race, for instance, or around gender. Someone will come in and someone will say, you know, as a black woman at this company, I'm wondering, what do you think of our HR policy?

That's the exact wrong way to ask that question. It puts someone on the spot and it tells them I've reduced you to just one identity. And the truth of the matter is, you're not just a black woman, you're a coworker, you're a mom. You're someone who coaches the softball league that we all play on. You're the person who runs marketing and you're the person that I turn to when I have a problem.

You're also the person is great at hiring and convincing other people to come work here. You contain a multitude of identities and all of those identities give you a perspective on this question that I've asked you. So I need to elicit all those identity. And then I need to also show that I contain multiple identities, right?

Instead of just saying, you know, as a dad, here's what I think about this. It's much better to say as a dad, here's what I think about this. And as a lawyer, I see it a little bit differently. And as one of your colleagues, I totally understand where you're coming from. And I don't necessarily agree with you completely.

But I understand and I really appreciate you sharing that with when we do that, we've reminded everyone that we all contain these multitudes and in doing so we have a social conversation where everyone feels like they can be understood 

[00:51:29] Hala Taha: and I know that it's really important that everybody is on equal footing in these conversations.

Can you explain why that's important? 

[00:51:36]  Charles Duhigg: Yeah, it's really, really important. So one of the things that often can destroy a discussion is if there's a power imbalance. Transcribed And it doesn't have to be like, I'm your boss. It can be something like, I've said something that lets you know that I'm really rich and you're not, or I've said something to let you know, I know a bunch of famous people and you don't, or I brought up a topic in which I'm an expert and you're a novice.

That's really, really hard because suddenly it's not a conversation. It's not like we're sharing. In fact, what we want to do if we're on the receiving end of that is we want to clam up or we want to just listen or we don't want to expose something like actually you have more money than I do. So what's much better is to bring up things where we do have equality is to ask questions and bring up topics where we're both experts or we're both novices and the place where we're most both experts.

Is when we're talking about ourself, you are an expert on you and I am an expert on me. And so if we get to a place where we're talking about our backgrounds and our childhoods or how we see the world or why we believe in certain things or why we love our job, we're both experts on what we're saying because we're describing how we feel and the only person who knows that better than anyone else is you.

Now, maybe we 

[00:52:52] Hala Taha: can round this out for our listeners, recap it. Can you go over the three conversations and can you explain why we need to understand what conversation we're in and. What is the actual outcome for each type of conversation?

And why is it important that we even know what type of conversation we're in? 

[00:53:10]  Charles Duhigg: So to come back, I started by talking about this story with my wife, that we would have trouble communicating with each other because I'd be complaining and she'd be trying to solve my problem. So in that situation, the issue was that I was having an emotional conversation and she was having a practical conversation and those are both valid conversations.

But they both use different parts of our brains. And I mentioned how important that neural entrainment is, right? That we start to think alike. And if you're using a different part of your brain than I'm using, it's very hard to entrain with each other. It's very hard for us to really understand each other.

So the goal here is to connect. The goal here is to have the same kind of conversation at the same time. Now, a discussion might contain many different kinds of conversations. We might start emotional, and then we go practical, and then we go social. But what's important is that we make those shifts together.

We're signaling to each other, what kind of conversation we're in. And when that happens, that's when we achieve entrainment. That's when we start thinking alike. You know, I mentioned a bunch of things that super communicators do that are different from other people. The number one thing that they do is they show other people that they want to connect.

When they're laughing, they're saying, I want to connect with you. When they're consoling, they're saying, I want to connect with you. When someone brings up something serious unexpectedly and they get serious themselves, they're saying, I want to match you, I want to connect. When somebody else tells a joke, it's not that funny.

A super communicator will laugh and be like, man, that's hilarious. They're showing that they want to connect. This is the thing that oftentimes we forget to do in conversations. We think that the goal of a conversation is to impress the other person, is to make them think that we're smart, is to win them over to our side or convince them of something, but that's not right.

The goal of a conversation is simply to understand each other and to connect. And you might walk away disagreeing with each other, you might walk away with completely different opinions. But if you have understood each other, if you've shown the other person that you want to connect with them, you will feel closer, you will like each other more, and most important, you will feel like you have some bond that transcends your differences.

[00:55:20] Hala Taha: That really helps to clear it up. So it's really helpful to understand that the conversation can kind of morph. And really what you have to do is just be open in your communication and try to figure out what kind of conversation are we having, what is the role that you want me to play, and you can do that, like you were saying, through all these deep questions to try to really get an understanding of what that person's feeling in the moment.

[00:55:41]  Charles Duhigg: And you can invite other people to match you. Like if we start with an emotional conversation, and then I say, look, I understand how you feel, I'm wondering, can we start talking about solutions? Put differently, can we start having a practical conversation? When I ask your permission for us to shift together.

Then, of course, you're going to come along, and that's really useful. 

[00:56:01] Hala Taha: One last question before we wrap up, you mentioned it, but I'd love to get some more insight around experiments that you can have in your conversation and how we can use these experiments to switch the conversation or get a pulse check on how things are going.


[00:56:17]  Charles Duhigg: an experiment is really anything, right? It's something that, you know, okay, so take this conversation that we've been having. I think at some point. We were talking over each other a little bit to try and figure out is this a conversation where we what's known as pinging and ponging where we're going back and forth between us, or is it better to have a conversation where I say something and then you say something and then I say something, particularly because we're talking on zoom on the Internet.

Sometimes the pinging and ponging doesn't work so well. But we conducted an experiment to see which kind of communication works best. If I had made a little joke at the beginning and you, you kind of went, Hmm, that's interesting. Then I would know, actually, this is more of a formal discussion, right? And similarly, if you made a joke and I laughed back, you would know, oh, it's okay for us to be casual with each other.

There's all kinds of things that we do as experiments without even thinking about them. It's almost automatic. Sometimes we'll bring up a topic just to see if somebody's interested in discussing it. Sometimes they'll bring up a topic and we'll be like, Oh, yeah, that's interesting. But you know what I was thinking about to show them that we want to talk about something else.

Many people conduct those experiments. And when they bring back a negative result, when the person says, I don't want to laugh with you, this should be a formal conversation instead of a casual one, they feel bad about it. They feel like they made a mistake, but they didn't make a mistake. They conducted an experiment and super communicators conduct more experiments than anyone else.

And instead of seeing it as a failure, they see it as information that they can use to figure out what do you really want from this conversation? How can I tell you what I want from this conversation? How can we find things we have in common? Well, I 

[00:57:55] Hala Taha: feel like we've had an incredible conversation, speaking of conversations.

And so your new book, Super Communicators is out, I believe February 20th. That's right. So why do you feel like people need to read your book more than ever now in 2024? Why is being a super communicator so important for 

[00:58:12]  Charles Duhigg: the future?

I don't think it would surprise anyone for me to say that we are living through tough times when it comes to conversations, right? The world and our nation feels so polarized. It feels like you can't even talk to your family members about politics or about religion or about gender. Without it becoming these fireworks and that's really dangerous, particularly in a democracy.

If you think about it, America was born in conversation, right? The constitutional convention was people who hated each other coming together and having conversations until they could. Build a new country. It's really important to be able to talk to people who are different than us. It's really important to be able to talk to people who are different than us and have that difference.

Not be the big thing that we're talking about to find ways to relate to each other. And schools used to teach this. There was a time around the world when we taught communication skills as part of our curriculums. But then with the advent of the internet, suddenly we've started to forget how to have conversations.

And so the way forward, the way to come together as a nation, as communities, as a world, is to learn how to have conversations with other people, even when they're different, they have different opinions. They see things differently. It's learning how to understand and show you want to understand that will make them want to understand back.

And I think that's the thing that makes the world a better place, particularly now. 

[00:59:38] Hala Taha: I love that. And I couldn't agree more. So Charles, we end our show with two questions that we ask all of our guests. The first one is what is one actionable thing our young and profitors can do today to become more profitable tomorrow?

[00:59:51]  Charles Duhigg: The number one thing you can do is in your next conversation, try and ask a deep question. Cause once you get into the habit of doing so, you'll find it's the easiest thing on earth. When you're talking to someone, instead of just asking them about the facts of their life, ask them how they feel about their life and then listen to what they say back.

[01:00:09] Hala Taha: That's really good. And what is your secret to profiting in life? And this can go beyond business and financial. 

[01:00:16]  Charles Duhigg: The real secret. Is to have lots of meaningful connections with other people. So there was this thing called the Harvard adult, um, happiness study. And it's gone on for almost a hundred years now where they followed thousands of people around and tried to figure out what causes people to be healthier as they get older and happier and more successful.

And they found the only thing that's a real determinant is if you have meaningful connections with other people at age 45, then you will be healthier and live longer at age 65, you'll be happier at age 65. And you'll be more successful at age 65 and you don't have to have hundreds or even dozens of connections.

You just have to have a handful of people. That you invest in, that you talk to regularly, that you have lunch with. If you really want to profit from life, invest in your relationships with other people. And often the way that we do that is by having conversations with them, learning about each other, and then nurturing those connections.

[01:01:15] Hala Taha: I was going to say the foundation of all of that is conversation. So that's exactly right. That's why it's so important for us to become super communicators. So speaking of that, tell us where everybody can go get your book. 

[01:01:26]  Charles Duhigg: Absolutely. So the book is available wherever you buy books on Amazon or Audible or Barnes and Noble or Walmart.

It's also in your local bookstores and we should support independent bookstores because they are oftentimes the heart of a community. And if anyone wants to find me, just Google my name, Charles Duhigg or the power of habit or super communicators. My website will come up. My email address is actually on my website.

And because I think communication's important, I take conversations seriously. Anyone who sends me an email, a real email, not just spam, but if they send me a real email, I read it and I respond to it. So I can promise you it might take me a week, but if you email me, I will read your note. I will respond to you and I'll look forward to having a conversation.

[01:02:10] Hala Taha: Wow. An email from Charles Duhigg is not too shabby, young improfiters. I'm going to stick all those links in the show notes. Charles, thank you so much for your time. It was a wonderful conversation. 

[01:02:20]  Charles Duhigg: This was fantastic. Thank you for having me. 

[01:02:27] Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to this episode of young and profiting podcast. 

If you listen, learned and profited, be sure to share this episode with just at least one other person in your life. And if you did enjoy this show and you learned something, then drop us a five star review on Apple Podcast. This makes a huge difference to us.

Plus, we love to hear from our listeners. And if you prefer to watch your podcasts as videos, you can find us on YouTube. Just look up Young and Profiting and you'll find all of our episodes uploaded on there. As for me, you can find me on Instagram at Yap with Hala. That's Y A P with H A L A. Or you can search my name on LinkedIn.

That's Hala Taha. And if you want to DM me, I recommend you reach out on Instagram. That's the easiest way to get to me. I also want to thank my amazing production team for all their hard work. You guys are incredible. This is your host, Hala Taha, aka the Podcast Princess, signing off. 

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