The 3 Words That Kill or Save Every Good Story

Shifting your direction in 10 seconds

Jake Daghe
2 min readAug 17, 2023
Photo by M ACCELERATOR on Unsplash

If you want to become a better writer, this is an easy way to subtly but powerfully shift your train of thinking.

Every time you have a conversation with someone, you’re willingness to listen and absorb what they are saying falls somewhere on a spectrum from “I’m loving this conversation” to “I can’t wait to get away from this person.”

How you navigate that spectrum will inform how you listen, and as a result, how you grow as a writer and collector of interesting things.

When you find yourself in the middle of a conversation with someone, there are two clear phrases that can propel you towards either end of the engagement spectrum.

If you want to kill a conversation, all you need to do is keep saying, “Yes, of course.”

If you want to propel a conversation and continue to explore the nuances of what is being said, all you need to do is keep saying, “Tell me more.”

It’s that simple.

Malcolm Gladwell talks in his Masterclass about how the “yes, of course,” makes people unwilling to tell others interesting things because they don’t get the reward of sparking curiosity. He points out that the reason we tell people funny interesting…



Jake Daghe

Creative Engineer writing working hypotheses | I write what I wish I could have read when I was younger | Join my newsletter ‘I/Q Crew’ on Substack.