We’ve all sat through those tedious “active listening” workshops at work (nod your head knowingly and sit forward in your chair as you read this), but yet, we still have many conversations where we feel unheard. More so, many of us often still leave some conversations feeling they were a waste of time.
Participate in every conversation as if you are a journalist. Be prepared to be ‘wowed’, to learn something new, to build a relationship.
Yes, we live by our phone and every buzz “might” be important, but not as important as the person sitting in front you. Give them your full attention. Turn your phone on silent if it’s too difficult to ignore. Be present, in that moment.
‘I…..I…..I….’ Avoid coming across as preachy or pompous. Share your knowledge but do so in a way that makes the other person feel enriched, not as if they are being talked down to. You know, like they are less-than…keep up!
Much like a journalist, be sure to ask: who, what, where, when, why and how. Allow your conversation partner to answer without interruption and LISTEN to their response. Try not to put a pin in what they’re saying so that you can think of your response. There, you’ve just missed something. Ask AND listen.
Truly, no one cares about the date, name, food topping or time of day you are vigorously trying to remember in your story. Your conversation partner just wants to be with you and hear you, not the details. Keep your conversation above the tree line.
Do your best to maintain your discussion flow without saying it again in another way. In other words, refrain from using different words to say the same thing.
Good conversations should leave you feeling great, heard, like you’ve learned something new, and feeling that you would like to speak to that person again.