The Biggest Barrier To Building Relationships- One Way Conversations
One - way conversations make it easy to come to the conclusion that the person doing the talking thinks they have more to say than the listener does. It may be a bad conclusion to draw, but it's a very human one. And in arriving at that conclusion, potential relationships slips away. Read on to see what to do about it.
At a recent event, I met a speaker and consultant who told me her specialty is leadership and communications development. Perhaps "met" is the wrong word to describe our exchange. "Listen to her tell me all about herself " is a more accurate description of our all - too - long one - way conversation. Once she had finished with her autobiography, she looked over my shoulder and spied another target of opportunity. And away she went without asking a single question about me. It may not be fair, but her conduct reminded me of the saying " you can tell a lot about the kind of person someone is by watching how they treat people they believe can neither do them any harm or any good."
I suspect she made "contact" with at least twenty people at this event - I suspect most of her "conversations" were the same as mine.
That kind of behavior has probably cost her more valuable contacts and relationships than anything else she could do. And I'll bet she has no clue. By definition, one - way conversations don't provide much feedback.
One - way conversations make it easy to come to the conclusion that the person doing the talking thinks they have more to say than the listener does. It may be a bad conclusion to draw, but it's a very human one. And in arriving at that conclusion, potential relationships slips away.
We're all guilty of "all talk and no listen" behavior from time to time. Excitement, nervousness, passion and commitment, exposure to new stuff , the assumption that we share the same interests - all can lead to one way conversations. And as long as they're the exception and not the rule, that's OK. Most people like to see excitement, conviction and other positive emotions in communications with others. But we all want to see a curiosity about us - as well. Failing that, we tend to draw conclusions - negative ones - about the person who goes on about themselves.
To check out your own behavior, after a conversation, ask yourself one question. "What have I learned from this conversation?" Your answer will tell you whether you had a two way or a one way conversation.
The good news is that one - way conversation behavior is very curable.
The cure starts with the belief that everyone has something to offer. That's key to two way conversations - and developing relationships.
Then the engaging behavior - an example:
A friend who has terrific engagement skills always starts by introducing herself and asking the other person their name. She then repeats their name and gives her ten second "what do I do or who I am " statement. Whenever possible she compliments or remarks on something about the person she is talking to. By offering that information she opens the door to her conversation partner sharing the same kind of information. Then, she will ask a "how, what, when or where" question relevant to the event or venue. She avoids "why" questions as too intrusive, particularly at the beginning of the conversation. Her goal is to create conversation on a personal, but not too personal level. From that point on, the conversation will flow - or not. It's important to realize that not everyone responds to good engagement skills. If they don't, she tells them it was good meeting them, and goes looking for someone else to engage. Her goal in every conversation is to give and get. To give information about herself and to get information by showing a genuine interest in what the other person does and who they are.
It sounds like such a simple behavior, and yet it's amazing how often people give information - on the assumption that what they have to say has so much value - but they don't think to get information. They lack the belief that everyone has something to share. It's the difference between being a living, breathing billboard, and being a living, breathing, engaging, unique person with a curious and courteous nature.
Which one would you rather be?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andy Cox helps his clients select and develop teams and talent. He focuses on helping leaders and emerging leaders define and develop their skills and talents using goals. He can be reached at http://www.coxconsultgroup.com , or at email@example.com