Words Can Change Your Brain Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Words Can Change Your Brain is the ultimate guide to becoming an expert communicator, teaching you how to use psychology to your advantage to express yourself better, listen more, and create an environment of trust with anyone you speak with.

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You might think that just because you spend a lot of time with others that you’re good at communicating. But the reality is, we can all learn a lesson or two about how to get our points across and listen to others more efficiently. 

And whether you realize it or not, improving these skills is vital if you want to be happy, successful, and especially likable. Whether at work, school, or home, you always need to have conversations. And it pays to learn how to do it right. 

That’s where Andrew Newberg’s book Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy comes in handy. He teaches twelve tips for improving your communication skills:

  1. Calm your mind
  2. Be present
  3. Suppress your inner voice
  4. Have a positive attitude
  5. Focus on your values
  6. Utilize joyful memories
  7. Pay attention to expressions
  8. Compliment people
  9. Have the right tone
  10. Talk slowly
  11. Talk briefly
  12. Listen deeply

These life-changing principles will turn you into an expert conversationalist no matter where you are at right now!

Let’s see how much we can learn from these 3 lessons:

  1. If you want to connect with others better when talking, make sure that your mind is relaxed, present, and quiet.
  2. Utilize the power of happy memories to get your smile just right.
  3. You must listen well, speak slower, and even say less to understand others better and have them understand you.

Are you looking forward to learning these skills so you can become more likable with the power of good communication? Let’s go!

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Lesson 1: Getting your mind relaxed, present, and quiet is the best way to prepare if you want to have a stellar conversation.

A few years ago I ran a marathon. I trained like crazy to prevent injury and when the big day came I still limped over the finish line an hour later than I’d hoped to! Whenever you have anything big you must prepare if you want it to go well.

For better conversations, begin by learning how to calm your mind. Recognize that your emotions influence your ability to communicate. Just think about how you snap at someone when you’re in a bad mood, for example.

To relax your brain, practice breathing for 60 seconds before important conversations. Research confirms that this activates the parts of your brain responsible for communication, mood, and social awareness.

This exercise will also help you be more present. You need to work on this so you can focus on people’s words and emotions. It will take some effort to silence your inner voice so you can make this happen. 

Another good way to do this is to ring a bell that makes noise for about 30 seconds and focus on the sound as it fades and even after it’s done. 

Lesson 2: Smile, and make sure you recall happy memories to make it genuine.

Did you that there are over 10,000 ways you can express yourself with your face? For each one there’s a different way to convey a feeling as well.

That might sound overwhelming, but there are a few general looks that convey specific emotions, like anger or sadness. Each is important because they can significantly affect the way your conversation goes. 

So you want to watch what you look like, but what’s the best way to prepare your face to talk with someone? The answer is a smile because it communicates trust, kindness, and interest. 

The bad news is that you can’t fake a real grin. But the good news is there’s a way to get a genuine Mona-Lisa smile every time. And it’s simply recalling a happy memory, especially those involving loved ones.

If I could see you right now I’d probably catch you smiling at the thought of your happiest memory. That’s the nice thing, these past events are usually readily available!

I’m smiling right now just thinking of the day I found out I passed my licensing exam and jumped up for joy. And now I’m ready for any conversation that might come up!

Lesson 3: To understand and be understood, listen well, speak more slowly, and say less.

With its 100 billion neurons and 1 quadrillion connections between them, our brain is the most powerful computer in existence. And yet, it can only store four bits of data at a time!

Knowing this should make you cringe at the thought of listening to a professor drone on during a boring lecture. What they don’t know, but you can learn from, is that talking more slowly and for less time will help you retain information better.

When you talk slowly you encourage understanding, respect, and warmth. Speaking rapidly, on the other hand, can make the other person feel anxious or scared. This simple tool is like a light switch that can turn on so many things to make your conversation go better!

Being brief with your thoughts is also vital to conveying information efficiently. Aim to speak for just 30 seconds at most, pausing at the end. If you need to talk for longer than that, let your companion know so they can prepare to pay attention!

The last and possibly most important piece of advice the authors give is to listen deeply. Many of the previous steps help with this one, like focusing your mind. 

To get this one just right it’s important that you avoid interrupting the other person. Focus on what they’re saying and their non-verbal cues. When they finish talking make sure to address what they spoke about, too!

Words Can Change Your Brain Review

I didn’t expect how much I would need the advice in Words Can Change Your Brain! As one who tends to talk a lot I need every bit of help I can get when it comes to effective communication. I think this is a must-read for everybody and it will improve all kinds of relationships, from family to work and beyond!

Who would I recommend the Words Can Change Your Brain summary to?

The 67-year-old that wants to get better at having good conversations with her grandchildren, the 27-year-old who just entered the workforce and wants to feel more confident when talking to their boss, and anyone that wants better communication skills.

Last Updated on July 23, 2023

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.