W.A.I.T. Why Am I Talking?

woman whispering to friend while lady surprises
by Anne McKeown

Do you love to talk?  

Most of us want others to hear what we have to say.  It makes us feel good to know that they are interested, we believe that we are valued when someone takes the time to listen.  Not only to hear what we have to say but also to understand the full message behind the words.  We talk about someone being ‘worth’ listening to, thus for many people, their self-worth is attached to the number of attentive listeners they have in their life.

You may have heard the expression: “we have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we speak.”  Listening is a skill. A skill we can all learn. Coaches are taught to be active listeners

An expert coach understands the importance of listening to her clients with, not only her ears to hear the words someone is saying, but also to listen with her eyes to see what that person is communicating.  An experienced coach knows that words often convey a surface message and physiology and facial expressions say something deeper. 

Here are some things you can do to show that you are listening: nod in appropriate places, reach out and take the person’s hand, lean forward, look them in the eyes. Obviously, you want to do this as naturally as possible, not in a robotic, disinterested fashion.

Here are some things NOT to do when listening to someone: look at your watch, make a move to leave before they have finished sharing, open a door, let your eyes wander around the room, shift endlessly in your seat, talk over them.

Awareness is key when building rapport with others.  When I find myself ready to give advice or solve someone’s problem, I actively say WAIT in my own head and ask the question “Why Am I Talking?”  And then  commit to actively listening.

This usually results in deeper, closer, more productive relationships at both work and home – try it!


To learn more about Anne McKeown, visit her Profile Page.

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