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Better Conversations

  • Don’t multitask
    • Don’t reach out for your phone
    • Don't think about your argument you had with your boss
    • Don't think about what you're going to have for dinner
    • If you want to get out of the conversation, get out of the conversation, but don't be half in it and half out of it.
  • Don’t pontificate
    • If you only want to state your opinion without taking any feedback, write a blog
    • Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn
    • True listening requires a setting aside of oneself. And sometimes that means setting aside your personal opinion. Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will become less and less vulnerable and more and more likely to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener.
    • Everybody is an expert in something.
  • Use open ended questions
    • Take a cue from Journalists
      • Start your questions with who, what, when, where, why or how.
    • Otherwise you're going to respond to the most powerful word in that sentence
    • Let them have to stop for a moment and think about it
  • Go with the flow
    • That means thoughts will come into your mind and you need to let them go out of your mind.
  • If you don’t know, say that you don’t know
    • Err on the side of caution. Talk should not be cheap.
  • Don’t equate your experience with theirs
    • It's not the same. It is never the same.
    • All experiences are individual.
    • And, more importantly, it is not about you.
    • Conversations are not a promotional opportunity
  • Try not to repeat yourself
    • It's condescending, and it's really boring
  • Stay out of the weeds
    • Frankly, people don't care about the years, the names, the dates, all those details that you're struggling to come up with in your mind.
    • They care about what you're like, what you have in common.
  • Listen
    • "If your mouth is open, you're not learning."
    • When I'm talking, I'm in control. That’s why we don’t listen more. I'm the center of attention. I can bolster my own identity.
    • We get distracted.
    • "Most of us don't listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply."
  • Be brief