Who doesn't like to talk about their life whether it’s going good or bad? We all go through different obstacles and different situations but we never have an easy time holding it in, unless we have no one to talk to.
When you do find someone to talk to, you feel free, you feel like what comes out of your mouth is the most important sentence in the world. I’m not saying that you should talk less or more but you need to have a balance to where you can gain respect from the person you’re talking to and make that conversation flow.
For the people who can admit that they talk too much, this article will help you develop some simple skills to becoming more of a listener than of talker. You know what it’s like to go on a rant when talking, you want to be listened to and you love to be listened to.
Some of the most annoying conversations happen when you’re trying to explain something and the person who you’re communicating with is either on their phone or not listening to you.
It’s fair to assume that people daydream from time to time and humans are easily distracted by their phones but c’mon we can’t always use these excuses to be a poor communicator.
Although we’ve been talking our whole lives, we’ve never considered how someone feels when we’re talking to them. We only care about the actual words we’re saying and hoping for that person to agree.
Well, what if that person doesn’t agree? What will you do then? You should know when to talk and how to do so. You don’t always need to be someone who is “leading” the conversation, you can play just as an important role when becoming a listener.
This isn't an easy change to add to your life but look at it this way, the better you can communicate, the more opportunities and respect you will earn in the future.
Listen Completely Before You Speak
Listening is harder than you may have thought it to be when you’re always the one speaking. There’s an art to listening that some of the world’s best communicator's only known about. I’m not one of these people but there are small tricks you can see that they do when observing them closely.
When you look at someone who is completely engaged in a conversation and they’re not doing most of the talking, you can see that they’re looking directly at the person.
One, this shows the person who is talking that they are being listened to and two, they are forcing themselves to listen to the conversation when looking at the person.
If you have trouble with listening to what someone says for a long period of time look at that person while they’re speaking or look in their direction. You don’t want to put your head down or face the other way because you’re making yourself more vulnerable to distractions.
When someone gets distracted during a conversation it causes awkward silences and brings the conversation to an end. You’ve probably been the victim of this type of conversation due to you losing focus on what the person you were speaking with was saying.
Also, you know annoying this is when someone is not paying attention to what you’re saying. Show respect when someone is talking because you want that same respect back when you’re talking. There’s no point in you talking if someone is not going to listen.
These situations are always awkward because your left in silence, you have to act like you’re talking to yourself or just take it to the chin. People will not take you seriously when you don’t listen to them.
Think of a customer who is shopping at the grocery store and they ask one of the employees what section the cereal is in. If the employee did not make any eye contact with the customer or had their headphones in, they wouldn't be able to guide the customer in the right direction or even show the customer any respect.
Whenever you feel like you’ve been listening to a conversation for a long time just remember to stay quiet and have some respect.
Have an Open Mind
Having an open mind is so crucial in today’s world because people are more expressive of their opinions and they’re also more sensitive as well. Even though many of us know this already, we still act as if our opinions matter the most.
How does someone usually express these opinions? Through their words and their actions but for the sake of this article we are going to focus on the words. You can’t say you have an open mind and then constantly cut someone off during a conversation where you’re disagreeing with them, it just doesn’t make any sense.
Every conversation you have with someone is an opportunity for you to look at the world through someone else’s lens. Now, of course, you have your core principles and beliefs but at the end of the day, when having an open mind you have to be willing be open to trying new things.
A constant problem that people seem to have during a conversation is usually a disagreement where people are talking about religion. Some people believe in a higher power and others don’t.
No matter what side of the fence you’re on during this conversation you should be listening to what the other has to say and look at it from their point of view.
If you hear something you disagree with don’t yell at the person that they’re wrong, instead try to really look at what they’re saying from a different angle. Not every conversation you have is going to go smooth but this is where your listening skills come in.
You won’t always agree with someone but you can always listen and you can always ask more questions about why someone has that belief in what they’re saying.
These same questions are where the deep conversations usually take place as well because you get to know the person on a more personal level and can see where their opinions come from. This is part of life and the conversation you have with people, the more important listening will become for you.
Go Ahead & Talk
When someone is done talking, you want to use the three-second rule where you wait three seconds until you speak to let the other person finish what they were saying completely.
That way, you don’t end up interrupting them or cut them off. Even when using this three-second rule you will find yourself still talking before someone appears to be done but this will definitely decrease your chances of that happening.
When you’re finally able to speak you want to talk for as long as you want to but you want to make sure you’re on hitting on points that the other person was talking about too so that you don’t lose their attention.
You can say something like “I want to go back to that last point you made about…” then you would fill in the blank with whatever that point was. That way you have that person’s attention and you’re able to gain the respect of your new listener.
You have the choice to talk about whatever you’d like but you want to try and stay as on topic as possible so that the conversation doesn't take a turn in the wrong direction and so it doesn't die out.
Talking is easy but listening can be hard to do at times. With this in mind, try to become the best listener you can be. I’ll leave you with a quote from Doug Larson that says
“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.”