What's The Big Idea: AJ Harbinger - How to Build Meaningful Connections, One Conversation at a Time

AJ Harbinger_Insta (3).jpg

“Everything starts with one great conversation.”

Today’s guest: AJ Harbinger

His big idea: How to build meaningful connections, one conversation at a time.

For over a decade, AJ Harbinger has been helping people build confidence, deepen relationships, and create social capital. AJ has become one of the world’s top relationship experts, and the Art of Charm is now a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality.

Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. During this time, AJ realized he was struggling with social interactions and began exploring his interest in self-development. From this, The Art of Charm Podcast was born as AJ started recording episodes in the evenings. After seeing an opportunity to grow The Art of Charm, AJ made the difficult decision to leave the laboratory and graduate school and take a risky leap into the world of entrepreneurship.

The Art of Charm Podcast would go on to become one of the largest and most successful lifestyle podcasts in the world. What started out as two graduate students conversing and laughing in a basement in Ann Arbor has turned into a top-rated podcast and highly sought after coaching business.

Today, AJ and his co-founder at The Art of Charm teach people from all over the world how to create, develop, and maintain top business and personal relationships.

Listen to What’s The Big Idea on your preferred platform below:

Key insights Shared:

  • AJ Introduces us to the “pickup artist movement” and explains how this was the original inspiration for The Art of Charm podcast. 

  • Cultivating curiosity like a muscle. Before sitting down to talk, ask yourself “what do I want to know about this person?”

  • Small talk is the byproduct of asking questions you don’t care about. 

  • Honesty and vulnerability is key when asking others to go beyond the surface level in conversation.

  • The benefits of being process dependent when entering social situations rather than outcome dependent.

  • Like improv, good conversations are built when each person says “yes and” building on the topic piece by piece. 

  • The five levels of listening and how understanding emotional value and context creates more meaningful discussion.

  • What role does technology play in our ability to connect? Is faster truly better? 

  • How quantifying human acceptance and connection with social media can have a destructive outcome. 

  • Thinking of conversations like a tennis match - a tennis match doesn’t work if only one person is knocking the ball over the net. You need that volley.

  • When we focus on giving value rather than taking value in relationships, we become more connected.

to learn more about AJ and HIS work: