Saturday, 23 March 2013

Listen Up

Have you ever been in the presence of someone who seems to think that a conversation requires the input of only one person? From time to time this happens to me, and I've come to the conclusion that people just don't realise they are doing it. And these people can be superb, and the things they talk about really interesting. It's just, well, they don't leave room for anyone else to join in. A part of me wonders whether these self same folk aren't natural listeners, or whether they even have any interest in learning the perspective of others? If true then this is a shame, because when I take time to listen more often than not I learn. I might not agree with what's being said, but at least I understand the other person that bit more. So really, if you're the kind of person who, unwittingly or not, hogs the conversation and turns it into a monologue can I gently suggest a slight behavioural shift? Start small if you must. Ask a question or two, and then listen to the answer, and just hold back before you dive in with your perspective. Even if what you're about to say is correct, just give people time to breathe, time to be, time to share a little of themselves. There's room enough for two people in a conversation, and often many more. When I've allowed people this space I've rarely had cause for regret, and I come away just that bit more informed.
You might be the kind of person who has strong views. You might be passionate about sharing them. All good, I say, because I'm passionate about things, too. Just step back, take pause, and allow other people to make your world a little bigger, a little richer. You might enjoy where the journey takes you, and you can also bet that people will have much more time for you.

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