Have you ever attended a gathering or an event, where an individual is constantly talking about themselves?!? Every subject, every conversation, every topic of group discussion somehow becomes about them, their adventures, their accomplishments, their success, their results? They somehow get into this “one upmanship” where their experience is better, they’ve gone further, done more, made more, been to far more adventurous places than anyone else speaking.
Do you think they know they’re being annoying at first, then they begin to dilute their credibility, and eventually be perceived to be an outright boor? Here is probably the biggest disappointment – they’re genuinely smart, nice people, often charming but the huge amount of insecurity, wherever it comes from, creates a need for them to constantly feel like they need to be the center of attention!
I promised 52 Questions for Insane Conversations this year: let’s start with the foundation: Candor, Bluntness, and Rebut. Insane conversations start with amazing listening skills – not just being quiet long enough to think about what you’re going to say next, but genuinely, authentically, being present in the moment to really hear what the other person is saying. If it’s a question and they’re asking your opinion, a huge opportunity to convey your credibility is to clarify or re-frame the question that is being asked based on your understanding of the subject matter. If it’s is an area outside your area of expertise or scope of your experiences, than simply say so.
I loved a quote I heard recently – “How do you create more engagement? Become more engaging!” How do you create more interesting conversations; become more interested in your relationships. We all could benefit from listening more than we speak, asking more than we tell, and focusing a lot more on others than ourselves. I’m not advocating for you to become a wall flower tomorrow; Lord knows I couldn’t do that. We all need love, attention and significance. When we don’t get those, we seek them out with a chip on our shoulder. I’m simply recommending a certain level of professional maturity to listen louder!