Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Do We Talk Too Much?

I know I am being contradictory right out of the chute, speaking to you through a Blog post titled "Do We Talk Too Much?" But allow me to ask and comment on that question...
Do We Talk Too Much? Every where look (listen) people are talking: Political candidates, commentators, announcers, parents, children, friends, DJs, commercials, talk radio (no surprise there), newscasters, and... Us. We call, text, comment, post, comment on posts, comment on other's comments on posts... Well, you get the picture.

Do you quickly comment "I do that." or "I love that too!" or "I know what you mean." when listening to another person?

There seems to be a lot coming out of our mouths. But have you considered if it might be beneficial to not talk after you hear someone else say something, but rather probe deeper and allow the other person to have the opportunity to say more?

One of my life principles that I seek to consistently model is this: Be interested, not interesting. What I seek to do is this: When someone tells a story, relates an experience, or makes a comment, instead of giving my opinion, sharing my own story or thoughts on the matter, I stop myself and ask the person to clarify, or ask how they feel about it. Or simply, I don't verbally respond, but use my facial expression to communicate.

Usually, we like to make everything about us. Our experience. Our struggle. Our history. Our victory. But should we be doing that?

Evaluate your last conversation. Look at your last Facebook post or comment. Re-read your last text conversation. Was it about the other person, or about you? Did you turn the conversation around to reflect your ideas, your story, or your comment and opinion?

What would happen if instead of turning someone's comment, experience, opinion, or story into what we want to say, we allowed it to remain about the other person? What if we simply said "Good for you!" (when something good happens to someone), or "Wow, that's gotta be tough" (when others experience difficulty)?

Here are some ideas to try:
  • Ask yourself, "Why am I talking?" When verbalizing something, or writing a Facebook post or comment, or texting, ask yourself why you are talking (commenting, posting). Are you talking about you or them?
  • Practice asking the other person," And what else?" So often we immediately jump in and speak before we hear the entire story or experience the other person is seeking to relate. Ask for more, instead of contributing.
  • Ask the other person, "What do you think? or "How do you feel about that?" Those two questions go a long way in clarifying the other person's heart as they communicate.
Allow me to exhort you: Be interested, not interesting. Stop yourself from speaking while another is speaking, or immediately when they are done. Allow conversations to be about someone else besides ourselves. Lead Well!

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