What’s your natural inclination when in conversation with others? Is it to engage quickly and share your perspective on the topic? …do you find yourself getting anxious when others are speaking because you are waiting to add your anecdotes? Or do you listen more than speak?
My tendency is to get in there and converse as a way of assimilating with them and their experiences. The curious thing I am finding is… that unless specifically asked, my input doesn’t always facilitate assimilation and can derail speaker and the message. Sometimes I sense that the speaker doesn’t really want or care about others participation in their conversation.
I used to believe that by sharing personal information with others, I open myself up (open kimono) with the intent of becoming more engaged with others and their experiences. I’m finding now that it doesn’t always work that way.
It’s not that sharing is not a valued exchange of ideas … it’s more a question of understanding one’s role in the exchange. Is the exchange more about the speaker and you as a listener? Or are there signs that the speaker wants to create a two-way exchange. I now believe that listening is more often the desire unless invited as a participant.
Whenever I elevate myself uninvited into position as a participant, I miss the opportunity to understand and engage with others on a more personal level. By actively listening during a conversation and not being so quick to offing my personal story, opinion, or responses, I dethrone myself as the center of my universe. Triathletes love to tell their story, and at times I love it also. I suppose … because there is so much to tell… and telling can reignite such powerful feelings. It’s hard not to share… but as the listener, I feel I’m missing the opportunity to gain valuable insight into others… while my mind is spinning my story vs absorbing what the speaker is expressing. My point here is simple. I’m trying to change the way I engage in conversation. To hear more of what others want to say…listening has been especially difficult for me as I am hard of hearing. The road to better listening for me is….. to stop stealing the microphone…. If I have to respond I’ll think I’ll confirm what I have heard. Then if asked …my response will be more insight about the speaker and less about me.. To what end one might ask? Thanks for asking… to elevate myself as a conversationalist… Please continue…