I challenged you all in last Friday’s Way of the Warlord challenge to become better listeners. Far too many people these days speak without thinking and it can get you into world of shit, but more importantly, it leaves you powerless. Today I’ll go over what I’ll be doing this week, as well as identifying why people today are always racing to get a word in rather than listen. Also, we’ll explore what it actually means to listen to someone, who you shouldn’t listen to, and everything in between.
I honestly think the internet is to blame for why conversation has degraded so much. People are so used to asynchronous communication these days. Someone sits behind their keyboard and types out the perfect tweet or comment. Then someone else sits, digests it, and offers up a rebuttal. When these people are put into a real world conversation, it doesn’t go so well, especially formal conversation.
For me, I’m making it a rule to sit and digest what people say to me. One thing you have to learn to do is deal with a pause in the conversation.
People seem to hate pauses in conversation. They call them awkward silences, but this can be used to your advantage. When someone asks a question, pause and think about your answer instead of blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. You begin to dominate the conversation because you are calm and collected.
When to listen
This is pretty simple but I’ll go over it anyway. You should listen to people you respect. You should listen to people that know more than you. Basically, if you’re gaining something from the person taking, it’s worth your time.
Obviously there are circumstances where you must listen to someone even if you didn’t want to. Employers fall under this category. That said, if your superior is flat out to wrong on a subject, you can interject and offer your argument.
When not to listen
The opposite of the above holds true here. If the conversation is getting nowhere or the other person is speaking only to demean you then it’s not worth your time. I’ve found it better to firmly end a broken conversation than to continue to engage.
For this when I plan on using the tips above. I plan on waiting and collecting my thoughts before speaking. I plan on using proper tone and most important to me is word tempo. I tend to speak very quickly and my words can seem to get jumbled or run together at times. I’ll work on keeping this at bay this week.
These days the art of conversation is lost on many people. The average person just opens their mouth and nothing but shit flows out. I encourage you to use the tips above to help your conversation skills. Report back with your findings.