Did you ever wonder why some conversations are great and others seem to a drag and you can’t wait to exit. Well there is a reason why. When we become self absorbed with ourselves, our thoughts and agendas, we rarely take the time to listen. There are other reasons too which we will address in other posts, but for right now, we are focusing in on the listening factor.
Many of us have developed killer conversation techniques that stunt our dialogues and information exchange. Over time, they have become patterns that we repeat without realizing it. We often give unwanted advice or offer autobiographical stories that the person we are talking to is not interested in. Or we may project an attitude that is a real turn off. We can also put on masks of self protection because we have been hurt too many times. All of these behaviors can hinder our success and limit our career growth. It can hurt our level of intimacy with the people we love most.
The bottom line is we engage in behavior that sabotages healthy interactions in our relationships. In other words, we are not being authentic with others. Being authentic is a key to having effective and fulfilling relationships.
We need to step out of the pattern we are stuck in and step into a new level of communication. This isn’t as hard as you think. You simply need to become more centered on the person you are talking to than yourself. Shed the agenda’s, let go of the hang ups, and bad attitudes for a moment. This can be done by two simple steps. 1)Ask questions, and 2) listen. Its about becoming present to the moment.
When we talk with a person, we can typically read people’s attitude and what they are projecting. Here are some attitudes, and masks that could impair the quality of any conversation. Do you do any of them yourself?
• I am always Good.
(honest, successful, hardworking, powerful, wealthy, sacrificing)
• I am Good but you are not.
• You are Good but I am not.
• I am a victim. Join me in my self pity please.
• I am always right, you are wrong.
• I am fragile. Be careful, you might hurt me.
• I am tough. You should be tough like me.
• I want the facts only. Don’t give me subjective information.
• I am in charge. Pay attention, I am important.
• I am a joker and am funny. Laugh at my jokes
• I have all the answers. I can fix all your problems.
• I am looking for everything wrong. I am an expert at criticizing others.
• I am the best storyteller.
• I will avoid all conflicts. Emotions and disagreements are bad karma.
• I have got you labeled….so watch it.
• I am the creative and artistic one.
At some point or another, we have all worked our own agenda’s in conversations as well as put on various masks to protect ourselves so others could not see the real you. Perhaps you have put on a positive mask and not a negative one? Still people may not be able to access the real you.
Take some time to reflect upon your friendships at home, work, the teams you have been a part of, and organizations you have been involved in. What annoying conversation killers do you engaged in?
Take an inventory and put on a new face…. how about the real you? It may be a little scary at first, but its worth it.
Take some time to put yourself in the shoe of the person you are talking to. Ask some questions and listen. You may discover some things that are very surprising.