Posts Tagged ‘conversation’

Say What?

Monday, October 11th, 2010

(The following post is from my new contributing columnist. Her posts will be under the title “She Says” and will be one woman’s opinion, thoughts and perspective on men and life as she see’s it).

Does anyone really listen anymore? Have you ever been so excited about something you experienced during the day that you burst into an exuberant explanation with the first person who would spare you five minutes, only to discover that when you pause to take a breath, the person immediately interjects their own personal story?… Like they didn’t hear a word you said, they were simply waiting for you to stop talking.

I like to think of myself as a trained listener; salespeople learn the skill as part of their toolbox. To connect with customers and earn their trust, we have to listen attentively for clues about what drives them…about their passions and interests. So when a “customer” pauses, I ask questions or repeat something they said to show that I was paying attention. It’s the polite thing to do.

Why is it so hard for people to reciprocate? Sometimes I’ve even wondered if it’s me. Maybe my conversation is boring or I’m just not funny enough. Yet, even when the so-called listener skips the art of listening and immediately becomes the talker, I find myself trying to show an interest again. Occasionally I get hung up on the fact that my whole conversation just went by the wayside. My mind starts drifting and I’ve suddenly committed the same offense- I’m no longer paying attention.

I think I’ve got the edge though. The talker doesn’t even know it because he’s still listening…to himself.

Do you hear me????

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

I don’t talk much. Some people think I am aloof. Most people think I am in a bad mood. Alot of people think I don’t like them. Truth is, I don’t say much unless I feel it nescessary and quite frankly, no one usually cares enough to listen anyway!!!!

I have learned in my life that it is better to be a good listerner than it is to be a good talker. I have learned more listening than I ever will from talking. The problem is most people today don’t find anyone interesting enough to listen to before they talk.

We have become a society of people who care more about what they have to say than what the the other person does. I find it not only rude but frustrating.

The very worse case I have witnessed recently came at a training seminar I attended for Mediation. A woman therapist spoke for approximately 30 minutes and then gave the floor to the next speaker. During the time that the gentleman was speaking, no less than five times did she interrupt him to give her opinion. At one point she stole the floor from him. This woman had her own agenda and she was going to push it all day no matter whose turn it was to speak.

I come from a family of what Seinfeld would probably call “over-talkers”. You know them as the friend who never lets you finish a sentence. Or the employee who always finishes your sentence for you and doesn’t come close to what you were trying to say.

When did this happen. As a kid I would be scolded for such rude behavior and now it is commonly accepted. It is a standing joke between two friends of mine and myself, how they never let me finish a sentence. Worse yet is when they ask me a question and don’t bother to listen to the answer but turn away in the middle of it. My wife and I now continue talking to people who look away but we change the subject to something tragic like ” and then I cut my finger to the bone and had to have it stitched and blah blah”. At some point the person usually turns their attention back to us  without a clue as to what we are talking about. Pretty funny stuff.

So what is it with people that can’t shut their pie hole long enough for someone to answer their question? What makes people talk over someone in conversation? I think the reason is two fold. First, most people tell me that they think they will forget what they are going to say next so they blurt it out. Second, they lost their ability to listen. Everyone is in such a rush today that taking time to listen to someone slows their day down. They already know what you are going to say so why not move on. Or better yet, they have a similar story that they can’t wait to tell you. Another Seinfeld moment. “the one upper”. Oh yeah everyone knows one of these people. Always found the blouse cheaper, or their kid gets better grades, or they have a different model television that is better than yours.Anything you say they have a story just like it but better.At least they think its better.

So everyone just chill! Believe it or not, if you take the time to listen to what someone else has  to say you might find what you think you wanted to say might change.And maybe you just may learn something about that person you didn’t know.

I love to listen. I love to listen because no one else is and I hear everything. Being a Mediator, I do however have an unfair advantage,. Yes, being a Mediator I am trained to listen to what people have to say. That is how I have become so quiet and such a good listener. I am grateful for that training because people say very interesting things if you let them. And, if you really listen to people they will notice and pay more attention to what you have to say when it’s your turn to speak.

The best thing about not talking so much is that people notice. As I said in my opening paragraph, they form all sorts of ideas about me because I don’t talk as much as they think I should. Maybe they get some bad ideas about me but when I do talk, most of them listen very carefully. Probably because they are in shock when I do. Plus not talking so much keeps them guessing about what I am really like. It sort of gives me the upper hand in a weird way.  This way I figure that when I do say something maybe, just maybe,they will listen……Can you hear me now????