When was the last time you felt like you truly listened to someone during a conversation?
Recently, I’ve found myself in situations where people have tried to be interesting – rather than interested – during our conversations. Instead of listening or asking about where I am at in life, they dumped their conversation onto me and then left.
Have we lost the art of conversation?
When we truly are invested in someone, the conversation should follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the conversation should be about the person you are talking to. The other 20% of the conversation is about you. What I usually find, is that people tend to do the opposite.
Sometimes you may not even initiate the conversation, and they still find it acceptable to talk at you, rather than with you, for the entire time. In my recent experience, I did not invite these people to talk to me, yet they still dumped and dashed. The quick enquiry into how my life was going felt forced and inauthentic. It was a conversation dumper, without any reciprocation.
We need to stop dumping verbal gastro and walking away with a hidden agenda. It’s unprofessional, and people can see right through you. If we aren’t genuinely interested in what the other person has to say, then why do we waste their time?
I’m sure we can all recount a recent experience where you were the one experiencing the dumping.
How did it make you feel?
Were you inclined to avoid that person the next time they tried to approach you?
When we are dumped continuously with conversations that show little to no interest in what we have to say, we start to feel frustrated, begin to avoid and change our own behaviour to compensate.
On the other hand, perhaps you didn’t even realise you were a dumper. Maybe as you read this you still think “That’s not me”. Well at some stage we have all been guilty of unloading onto someone without offering any reprieve for the person listening. But if we do it always, we can start to appear self-involved with two mouths and one ear. Interesting look and one in which we will be judged for at some stage!
Check in the next time you are having a conversation! Be present!
Were do you sit?
Are you talking for 80% of the time, without really allowing the other person to contribute? Do you genuinely care about what the other person has to say or are you using them to dump your emotions, ideas or current thoughts?
When we do this always, our conversations appear agenda based and lack authenticity. We can be interested in what the other person has to say, and not always trying to appear interesting. Learn to share the conversation and appreciate the other person’s contribution.
Note to self: check in whether the person is actually ready for a conversation. Are they in the middle of something? A few times I’ve seen people at hot desks being gatecrashed by someone prepared for a verbal interaction.
Before you head over to initiate a conversation, use your spidey senses to work out if they are really up to talking with you or are they just feeling obligated. If it looks like they are in the middle of something, let them be! Send them a smile and a wave. Consider also that they may not be in the mind space to contribute to the conversation productively and if by chance you are seeking something specific from them they actually may fall short because they simply were not ready.
A great conversation is something that is shared and enjoyed by both parties.
Would you like to know more about reshaping your conversations to create positive rapport and increase productivity in your life and business?
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Thank you for taking the time!