Have you ever had that moment where words are coming out of your mouth, before you’ve really thought through what you are saying? Well that is me and I did it again today.
I am well aware of the fact that I often talk too much as it is something I am very conscious of in all areas of my life. There is nothing I find more uncomfortable than when you meet someone and the conversation is limited by one word answers and filled with silence. Awkward moments that for some reason I feel the need to fill with irrelevant conversation to compensate. Pathetic really, as I’m not the one creating the awkward silence and many would find these conversations quite normal and comfortable.
Whist I am very conscious of this, in every conversation I have with someone I always try to spend more time listening to others than talking and I’ve found that there are a few reasons for this:
- You can learn so much from others by just listening. This maybe in a training session, during a conversation with a colleague at lunch or in a crowded office space
- It gives you the opportunity to ask more insightful questions. More quality questions can lead to better outcomes and they make others feel engaged
- You don’t find yourself battling to get a word in as you fight for air time to say what you want to say
- People will respect your relationship more as they feel like you actually care about them and what they have to say
- Most people like to talk more than they listen, which is why I am convinced that if you do take the opportunity to listen to someone that they usually share their thoughts, problems, challenges and you are more likely to be able to assist them.
The next time you are having a conversation with someone, why not just try it. Listen to the other person, digest what they have to say, ask them insightful questions and let them do the talking. Once you become more aware of how much talking you actually do, you will probably see a large shift in how you build your relationships with engaging with others and how much you actually learn.
It is very easy to talk too much and speak before you’ve thought about what you have to say. Especially when you are anxious or in a stressful situation. Before you blurt out something that you can’t take back, take a deep breath and just listen.