Listen With Your Ears, Not With Your Mouth A few days ago, while dining, I found myself in an awkward situation. I ran across a colleague, whom I hadn’t seen in a while. I was very excited and anxious to catch up on events that may have transpired since we last spoke or seen one another. Although I was elated to see this person, I was also on my way to the restroom when we encountered each other. No problem, I thought, I’d just explain that I would be right back and we could continue our catch-up. As it turned out, I couldn’t seem to quite get a word in. Not only was I bogged down by a flood of information, my body language wasn’t being read and I feared I wouldn’t be able to break off the barrage without appearing rude. It reminded me of an old saying…”we listen not to understand, but for the opportunity to speak again.” This interaction prompted a very important message that we would like to share with our readers. We want to take verbal communications back to the basics, and use this opportunity as a moment to explore “The Art of Conversation.” Conversation is a skill; it’s a verbal “interaction” between parties. Although it seems to be a rather simple topic; one that I’m sure most of us feel we may be pretty good at, I’m sure we violate artful conversation techniques quite often. Do’s:
- Pay attention to body language and non-verbal cues of the listener- Nonverbal cues will often signal when you are going off on a tangent.
- Listen more than you speak and resist the urge to jump in until appropriate.
- Remember, a conversation is an interaction not a one-way event
- Speak when it’s your turn and think before you speak
- Come prepared with relatable topics- If you are headed to an important event, brush up on the nature of the event so that you have something to speak about.
We’d love to here from you! Share with us your pet peeves while engaged in conversation.
- Don’t interrupt another speaker, wait for an appropriate opening
- If you’re involved in a group conversation, don’t just address one person, involve the group
- Don’t over share information, too much can be just as bad as too little
- Don’t compete with the other party (try not to one-up the listener)
- We hope you find these tips helpful in promoting successful conversations and that those conversations prompt a positive interest in you and your company or organization.