Do we really know how to listen to someone when they are talking or are we only thinking about the next thing we want to talk about? When we have something new or something exciting going on in our lives we only want our friends to listen to what we have to say; we do care about them, it's just that we can't stop talking about ourselves. When I was planning my wedding that's all I wanted my friends and family to know about, but I'm sure they didn't care about half of it! To share with us how you can listen more and** 5 Ways to Stop Talking About Yourself**, here is guest blogger Danielle from EatBreatheBlog...
Sometimes You Can't Help to Talk About Yourself...
Danielle is a business-savvy marketer and brand strategist who’s confident in her life- both professional and personal. She’s also committed to her boyfriend of three years, despite a rocky path down the dating road to get there. Read her musings on living a healthy, active lifestyle at eatbreatheblog.com.
"I came to a startling realization at the end of recent conversation with a colleague of mine. She was asking me if I had any recommendations for booking a Chicago hotel since she's new to the area. I briefly mentioned a hotel where I've stayed and then launched into a 40-minute tirade about my weekend. What? That wasn't what she wanted. I barely even talked about Chicago hotels, much less handed out recommendations. Embarrassed, I apologized and tried to laugh it off. She said it was fine, but still gave me the look that says, "Are you one of those people? The person who never shuts up about herself?" We love talking about ourselves. It's part of human nature. But listening to others and carrying on a productive conversation is key to fostering strong relationships. If you're concerned that you spend too much time talking about yourself, check out these few tips to give yourself a conversational reality check."
Listening is harder than you might think, even if it's just for half an hour. Often, our version of listening involves processing the other person's words and thinking of what to say in return. It's rare when we're able to just sit and listen, without the obligation or intention to reply.
If you've never had someone just listen to you, without the expectation of a two-way conversation, you can imagine it's very calming. Start by asking a friend about their day, work, family or even pets and listen to their reply, without thinking about what to say about your own day. Show an honest interest in their answer and about what they have to say. If you're asked a question, avoid long answers and shift the focus back quickly before it's too late and you're 15 minutes into a personal story.
Ask questions that require a long response. If you know about their interests or hobbies, ask about something in that area. Engage them further by asking thoughtful follow-up questions. You could learn something new about them, or about their area of expertise.
To keep the conversation equal, try making your answer into a question that requires their input as well. If you're both familiar with a topic and would love to talk about it, you might say, "Yeah, I love that whole album? What's your favorite song?" Give them time to answer without immediately jumping in and giving them your entire 12-track rundown. Make sure you hear out someone else's opinion before you state your own.
This one is difficult. We're so used to thinking about what we have to do later, of where we have to be, or what we're going to eat for lunch tomorrow that we sometimes forget to think of others. Try to get in the habit of thinking about if your cousin is enjoying her trip or Aruba or how your mom's stew turned out. That way, when she gets back, you'll be primed to sit and listen, instead of yammering about your week at the office. Try starting your thoughts with something besides "I" or "Me". Once you get in the mindset and habit of thinking of others, you'll be more likely to keep your mouth shut during conversation and listen to what your friends and family have to say.
In my case, the conversation began with a purpose. Sure, someone came to me with a question, meaning she wanted to hear my answer, but I got completely sidetracked and failed to ever really answer the question she asked.
Do your best to stay on track. No one likes to listen to a rambling, 20-minute odyssey of information you don't need and never wanted to hear in the first place. Stay focused on the initial intent of the conversation and do your best to remain true.
Talking about yourself is a natural tendency. Harnessing that inclination and learning how to listen, engage in two-way interactions and properly answer questions will make you an excellent and desirable conversationalist.
We want to thank Danielle for stopping by All Women Stalkto share these great communication tips with us and we hope they will help you the next time you are hanging out with friends and family. Readers, have you caught yourself talking too much and not being able to stop talking about yourself?
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