There are few things as annoying or useless as a person who hears you when you’re talking, but doesn’t actually listen to anything you’re saying.
You know the type, right? They seem to be so much more interested in what they have to say than what you’re saying. It makes for a pretty silly “conversation”, doesn’t it? It’s not much fun and you end of feeling like you were in some sort of a competition that you weren’t quite prepared for.
I’m willing to bet you don’t feel real fond of individuals like this, but you really need to get serious and ask yourself a tough and important question…
Are there times when you are that annoying, babbling, one-upping, non-listening person, too?
It can happen to the best of us.
Part of what makes interacting with another person interesting is when you have things in common. Sharing your own personal versions of similar scenarios is always pretty fun. And it can be enjoyable. It’s in those awkward circumstances where one of the people involved in the dialogue decides it’s time to make sure their life experiences are more exciting and way more cool than yours that the discussion becomes adversarial and unpleasant.
If you’re thinking you may have been guilty of this before, then you probably have. Truthfully, we all have.
So what’s the tip for the day? Stop doing that!
Listen. Listen. Listen.
As much as you want the next thing out of your mouth to be amazing and engaging, don’t spend all the time someone else is using to communicate with you formulating your astonishing comeback. First off, you just missed everything they said, and while it’s not uncommon to be involved in boring chatter, there’s a real chance something they mentioned was important. Heck, they may have even asked a question. And of course you are about to answer it by flowing seamlessly into some rant about the wonders of you. Nice!
Also, you’re totally missing out on the value of the human interaction! Don’t make me break out the old adage that God gave you ONE mouth and TWO ears so you could listen more than you speak…’cuz I will if I have to!
You might have also fallen into this trap…
You’re talking with someone important and you want to make sure you sound very intelligent. So, you have to think and choose your words extremely carefully. The fear of having nothing to say is creeping over you like nothing you’ve ever felt before…you start to sweat a little…your stomach hurts…and then you realize that they have stopped talking. Um…YOUR TURN! Oops! Wouldn’t it have been nice if you’d been paying attention?
Trust me, you’re going to sound much smarter, no matter who you’re talking with, if you’re actually part of the conversation.
It’s not hard, and it will actually force you to exapnd a little as a person. Listen. Give some thought to your response. In spite of what you may have been taught or learned from observation, it’s okay to pause and breathe between sentences. To tell you the truth, it actually makes you seem a lot more genuine and attentive, a little sharper, much more secure, and definitely considerate. Yes, you just got more interesting, smooth, and charming by taking the time to listen. You might actually end up learning a few things or developing a friendship.
Listening is a combination of both science and art. It takes a little practice, but only because we’ve been conditioned to talk fast and be charasmatic at all times. What it really takes is the conscious effort to be real. Be genuine. Listening is a great way to learn and an even better way to make your conversations more purposeful.
It will come as natural to you as talking, if you’ll just shove the ego aside and let it happen.
Here’s to the ears!