Many people want to know how to make a good impression when talking to someone for the first time. To facilitate their task, researchers Quinn Hirschi, Timothy Wilson and Daniel Gilbert propose, in an article published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and relayed by The Conversation, an estimate of the speaking time that should be occupied for stay friendly.
Researchers call the belief that people think they are more agreeable when they are silent, “reluctance bias.” However, nothing could be less true. Indeed, within the framework of a study involving 116 participants, the experts organized meetings between different strangers who, on this occasion, kept the floor for 30%, 40%, 50%, 60% or 70% of the talk time. And they found that those who spoke more were more likely to be liked by their interlocutors.
These results confirm those of a previous survey, in which the researchers had assigned a role of speaker and another of listener to a pair. The study showed that after twelve minutes of conversation, the listeners seemed to have appreciated the speakers more than the reverse, and this because of a certain closeness that the latter would create with their interlocutors by speaking about them.
Talking more doesn’t mean
dominate the conversation
According to the scientists, it is also useless to seek to balance the speaking times by wanting to appear both pleasant and interesting in the eyes of his interlocutor who, as a rule, retains only an overall impression after an initial discussion. .
However, do not try to dominate the conversation and crush the word of the other. Indeed, as part of their work, the researchers only asked individuals to speak “only” for a maximum of 70% of the time. But it’s possible, and even likely, that taking up all the space in a conversation—for example, talking 90% of the time—is not an optimal strategy.
This study, however, does not reflect natural discussions in which people choose to be in the position of the speaker or the listener. Future research should determine whether the results can be applied to everyday interactions.