Insight and editorial
1) Curious Constant. This is the root, the bedrock and the fuel for the rest. To be curious, genuinely and truly, allows you to find out why someone does well in the tasks they do. Parenting, Science, Sales, Service all get done because people are busy "doing" and when you tap into that passion with a real curiosity it is to give them permission to be vulnerable enough to tell you. It is to find a place of trust that gets them to a place where they are open to be ridiculed or shamed. If people aren't talking to you about their dreams, there is a reason. It isn't them... (read the book "The Curious Mind" by Brian Grazer)
2) Practiced Spontaneity. Not only is it a skill you develop, there is a structure for it. For the Improvisation Actor they need to use the structure of "yes, and". This allows the momentum to flow rather than to be shunted off and stopped, (read "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell). This is a discipline which means it can be developed. This is also revealing of your flexibility, or lack thereof.
3) In the box, you need stuff. Get some stuff. For reference, for story, for familiarity. This is a simple thing that is counter intuitive to some. To speak in a meeting about a topic you need a reference point that others get. The joke dies if no one understands. The idea is not just to put things in your box that you like, but that makes you twinge. The theater if you like not going to the theater, but monster trucks if you like not going to monster truck rallies. Perhaps it can be to simply go to the game where the competing team in their home town, other than where yours is, just to watch their fans... back to number 1... You need stuff in the box that is different so that you can do a juxtaposition reference. There is a Ted talk about this.
4) Simple humility. You don't know it all, or should you. You know what you do know, and part of that is that you know you can learn. Personally I never watch any movie with Will Ferrel in it. This will tell you a lot about me with that sentence. The one exception, and it was a struggle to watch the first time because of that, is the movie "Stranger than Fiction". I find it a hoot for the contrast of the author and the character. It is in my top 10 movies list, partially because it is so "anti" Will Ferrel in his normal roles. I had to accept that I was being sharp edged about my movies that made the attempt to watch it happen. I was wrong. Humility is a result of a level of inner strength that you will be, and are sufficient and self accepted. This is a place of strong boundaries for your world. Not of "Right and wrong" but of safe and not safe. If I feel safe then I can tell you your behavior is hurtful without "being" hurtful.
5) Emotion trumps... In the book "Switch, how to change when change is hard" the reference to Emotion being the Elephant and Intellect being the guy with the stick, in normal conditions the elephant gets a lot done with good direction. When the emotion flares though, the jungle does not stop the elephant regardless of the smacking of the stick by the little guy on the back. This is the rule for all conversations: if things are all good, you haven't hit an emotional topic, or there is a great amount of discipline being exerted. This is a mirror and a window. It is the same for you and for others. Be attentive for this and you will prevent being caught off guard. Being caught off guard tells you more. Emotions press the throttle, intellect steers the wheel. All good when it is all good...
6) History is obligated. Always learn about history, as someone is going to repeat it. Always. The fact that "nothing is new" is not new, I will not go far with this. But here are some things to learn: The initiator sets the tone (Stonewall Jackson), The enemy is as afraid of you as you are of them (Grant at the battle of Cairo), Someone has been there before you, Someone will come after you. You are not landing on Mars or the moon so most likely you are simply "next". Everyone has heard the sales phrases and leadership maxims, unless you are 12... they are true so just put them into practice. On you first, then others... just like the mask on a plane.
7) There is always something behind the something. Everyone knows the story of Benedict Arnold. He was a beastly general and revered by both his men and his foes. The trouble came about when Congress was handed a list of promotions by George Washington for approval, as they needed to pay the new salary allotments. They only approved 4 not 5, and Benedict was the one left off, ticked off... So he became a traitor. Even to the point his name was synonymous with the behavior. He became a noun and a verb at the same time... Still as a great general, only for the British now. The issue is, there is always a back issue and it deals with 6)... feelings : hurt or yearning for attention. Beware the ulterior motive.
8) Read a book (of merit). Anyone can read a trashy novel, but to carry a piece of knowledge into a conversation is to have a sword on the ready. Keep your powder dry, to mix my metaphors, for when it is of good use, but then use it. The average American reads 1-2 books a year, but when I am consuming 2 a week I throw the average off a bit... jump in the deep end with me.
These are some of the things that I touch on or swerve near when I write. They are the framework of humans so there is ample material. There is much more to this list, but these are some of the big pieces. Think three dimensionally, and be the ever curious one.
regards... keep your stick on the ice