Communicating or talking at – what’s your default?
I imagine every one of us has, at some point, been on the receiving end of a monologue disguised as a conversation. You know how it goes: The other person appears to have overcome the need for oxygen as he talks endlessly on and on and on, never pausing to give you the slightest chance to get out a single word.
And yet how easy is it to yield to that temptation yourself when you have a chance to talk about the world’s most fascinating subject, i.e., your business? By talking too much and listening too little, you can get yourself in a world of hurt.
- Not content with failing to engage their listeners, non-stop talkers actively drive them away.
- Over-talking means you miss out on priceless feedback from prospects and clients.
- Continuing to “sell” when the listener is already prepared to buy often results in the prospect walking away from the sale.
Can you say “ouch”?
Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to catch yourself if you get into over-talk mode, and easier yet to shift from a monologue to a genuine, two-way conversation.
You can choose to create win/win conversations.
- Watch for your listener’s eyes glazing over; this is a pretty much no-fail indicator you’ve lost them.
- Monitor voices. If you hear yours more than theirs, it’s time to turn over the conversational reins.
- Listen for the words I/me/mine; if they show up more than the words you/your/yours, you’re in monologue mode. (Read more about how to avoid this fatal marketing flaw.)
- Approach any conversation from the perspective of, “How can I provide something of value [e.g., a resource, a connection] to this person?”
- Ask open-ended questions and listen to the answers.
- Assume you can create a both/and situation where you both share what’s important to you and learn what’s important to your listener.
- Confirm that the message you want to convey is the message they’ve received. This can be done with a phrase as simple as, “Does that make sense?”
- Be willing to graciously walk away from a conversation that appears to be going nowhere for both of you. (Having a few phrases ready in advance can make it much easier and more graceful to exit a conversation that’s run its course.)
What are some of the most effective ways you’ve found to engage your listeners? Share them in the comments section below.
(And, lastly, my thanks to bark for posting in the Creative Commons section of Flickr the pathetic image of himself in glazed-eye mode.)This entry was posted in effective communication and tagged effectiveness, professional skills. Bookmark the permalink.