All of us have walked away at least once in our lives from a conversation, saying, “Boy, I really blew that one!”
But a lot of times, we do it without realizing it.
What should you watch for, so that you can head off disaster?
If you find yourself in a conversation with any of the following thoughts or behaviors…think again!
They can’t tell you anything you don’t already know.
You have crowned yourself the Knowledge Expert on this topic. You are comfortable allowing the other person to speak, although you may find you want to interrupt frequently. After all, once they receive the wealth of information you hold, they will see the light. Right?
Assume you know best.
This is somewhat different than #1 – you may not have all the information, but you consider yourself a wise individual who will gather the information from your conversation partner, and then decide what should be done with it, tell the other person what to do. Hmmm…
This is a chance to get your personal agenda passed.
You get excited, realizing you can work this particular conversation around to something you need personally. It may be a decision, a favor, or something else – but you are ready to be a willing listener and supporter so that you can work this around to your own goal. It’s okay if the conversation goes a bit off topic if it leads to yours.
Don’t ask questions.
Assume you have enough information from your conversation partner, during the first round in the discussion, to make an informed decision. Further, you can guess what they are going to say, and you are busy formulating your answer while they are still speaking. Ugh.
Ask too many questions.
Here, you’ve determined you know what the topic is, and you zero in on the details “rapid-fire” style while the other person is still attempting to share. You figure you appear interested, so you continue your interrogation. Do you wonder why people abandon their conversations with you before finishing? Hmmm…
Do you or someone you know identify with any of these? If so, it’s time to do some “deep listening.” Conversation is much more enjoyable when you realize that you not only don’t know all there is to know about a subject, but that your conversation partner can bring valuable, new things to the table that can widen your perspective and open up new vistas for you.
Want to know more about deep listening?
Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.