You know the type.
We’ve all had unpleasant experiences with someone who talks about everything but doesn’t say anything. The woman who is always butting into other people’s conversations, swearing she knows just the answer to every problem. Or the guy who feels the need to tell you every detail of his day as if he’s The Most Interesting Man in the World.
It’s frustrating and downright irritating. Holding a conversation with this kind of person is a futile attempt, like trying to cross a six lane highway in the middle of rush hour. Blindfolded.
And what do we do? Well, if you’re anything like me, you give up on holding any kind of meaningful discourse and tune that person out.
Word to the wise: Don’t be that kind of person.
In my day job I talk to a lot of people and hold a lot of conversations. Some I find fully engaging and totally intriguing, others I’d rather rub hot peppers in my eyes than have to listen to another word.
Here are seven ways to avoid being tuned out and to make sure that people listen to you when you talk:
1. Don’t dominate a conversation. Dialogue is a two-sided coin. People don’t engage you to listen to you talk. Ask questions. Seek advice. Make sure the conversation is balanced.
2. Make sure the other person is actually interested in what you have to say. Not everyone is as enthralled with the nuances of local government as you are. Face the fact that you’re job isn’t as interesting to other people as it is to you. Don’t blather on about something just because it interests you.
3. Generally speaking, offer advice only when it’s asked for. Understand that if someone wants your opinion she’ll ask for it. If it’s not asked for, it’s best not to give it. Or ask first before giving it.
4. Only join a conversation in-progress if invited. Don’t assume you’re part of a conversation just because you happen to be in earshot of the dialogue. And don’t perform a hostile takeover of a conversation because you need to talk to one of the persons involved. Wait your turn. This is just good manners.
5. Know when to say when. Pay attention to the other person’s body language and know when they’ve had enough of your voice. If they appear distracted, annoyed, if they keep glancing at their watch or make a move for the door, take the hint and wrap up your thought.
6. Listen to what the other person has to say. Usually, someone doesn’t want to listen to what you have to say if you show no interest in whay he has to say.
7. Lastly, mind the old adage: better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. When in doubt, assume it’s best just to be quiet and keep your thoughts or opinions to yourself.
Question: Any other suggestions to bear in mind?