The more people I coach, the more I realize that so many just crave to be heard. They want someone to listen to them, be engaged in the story they’re telling and validate that their words have significance.
However, we’re often part of unbalanced conversations, where one side does most of the talking or two people fight to speak, thus talking over each other. Or how about when one person always brings the conversation back around to them, making you wonder if they even digested anything you’ve said.
The secret to meaningful conversation is listening. Not just impatiently waiting for the other to stop talking so you can chime in or just half listening because you are too busy formulating your response. but really focusing on the details, using your intuition to see how you can offer wisdom and when you can be helpful.
Conversations are how we build relationships and connect to one another. Whether you are trying to enhance your personal or business life, you’ll get a lot further with people if you practice active listening.
So my challenge to you is notice the following:
- Are you doing most of that talking?
- Do you start most of your sentences with I?
- Are there lots of interruptions?
- Is there an even exchange of ideas?
Now, there are those who just have to do all the talking. They’re not curious about your life because they’re too absorbed in whatever is going through their heads to have a fair and balanced exchange with you. In these cases, you’re not going to change their behavior but you do get to choose whether the relationship is worth building.
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