AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– Knowing the secrets to having great conversations can make a big difference in both our personal and professional lives.

Lou Diamond is a professional speaker and podcaster who has written the book on elevating your conversational confidence. The book is called, “Speak Easy: Connect with Every Conversation”

One of Lou’s most important tops is to be yourself.

“When we think about having conversations with people, a lot of times we’ve imitated a lot of different things we’ve seen in our lives. Maybe we’ve seen a professional speaker or an actor or someone on television. And often we’ll try to maybe mimic that. And in business, we may see someone that is a mentor of ours and we’ll try to be like that person. Make no mistake, there are certain lessons that you can learn from other people. But what really connects with people when you have a conversation, is when you own who you are. There’s something inside of you, your charisma, the energy that you have, that’s what people wanna connect to. So instead of trying to be like somebody else when you’re having a conversation, or someone you think you should be like, own who you are and be you. And that would be the way that people would wanna connect with you.”

Another of Lou’s tips is that “Fun Street is where all the people meet. ” So, what’s Fun Street?

“You know we have conversations, and I usually state this for business related conversations. But make it clear in a conversation, whether it’s a work meeting, an initial interaction, a networking opportunity, we try to make it professional and have business. And maybe we feel like we need to put on kind of a straight way of being. Having a little bit of a laugh in a conversation. Or maybe even more importantly, even just telling your face to be happy that you’re having one. Smile, putting yourself ear to ear, make it a fun opportunity. Too often, Jennie, we forget how lucky we are to have the opportunity to have a conversation. You might as well have fun while you’re doing it. People want to have more conversations with people that are enjoyable, lighthearted and fun. Be yourself and make it not so serious all the time. In doing that, that will lead to more conversations. Because people will walk away with a really good feeling. A jaunt down fun street is a lot of fun in a conversation.”

Finally, he says, don’t just speak, but truly connect.

“When we’re just talking and talking and uttering things out, we’re not really kind of diving into someone’s world. The visual I’ll give you, Jennie, is if this is your world, a little circle here, and this is my world. You know, when we’re just speaking to each other, we’re like two circles bubbling around one another. When we make a connection, those two circles have overlapped. We’ve done something in the conversation where we’ve seen into someone else’s world and they’ve seen into ours. And what happens when that happens, we grow. We take a piece of somebody else and add it to our own world. And they in turn, add what we have and add it to theirs.”

You can see Lou in action at different events, including motivational speeches online:

“Oh, I’ve got TedTalks. And you can go head on over to thriveloud.com And you can see all of the opportunities of where I speak about connecting and also how you can speak easy and be a master connector. Which is what we’re all about. You can get Speak Easy, which I’m holding here in my hand. You can get it at speakeasybook.com and you can order right there. However you’d like to get it. Whether print digital or audio.”