How to talk less
Once, an extremely clever guy said, “A fool is made more of a fool when their mouth is more open than their mind.”
I agree with this thought. But it wasn’t always like this. Earlier I used to talk more than I listened. Therefore, I made many enemies.
For example, in 2013, after meeting a particularly successful person and hearing his criticisms of me, I started making excuses.
Our conversation went like this:
|“Alex, if you want to be successful, you have to work hard and sincerely.”
“But I work a lot. I work like a plow horse. I really work a lot and…” I answered and then continued talking… Blah blah blah…
By the way, there have been many situations in my life when the interlocutor decided to leave without saying goodbye. It’s interesting that I couldn’t understand why people acted like this for a long time, but there were times when I myself left angry because I wasn’t allowed to speak. Irony. As you can see, life is quite an ironic thing.
Why do people interrupt their interlocutor while speaking?
People interrupt others because:
1. They want to look smarter than they are.
But the wish to look smart does more harm than good. But why prove that you’re smart? Interestingly, those who don’t try to prove anything are considered smart.
2. They try to increase their value.
I have seen a thousand times how conversation participants try to convince each other how cool they are. For these people, it seems that there is no one else to prove they are worthy of respect. Such people are tied to a leash, the master of which is called “Acknowledgement.”
3. They haven’t read a book on etiquette.
Many will agree that etiquette is important. Unfortunately, few people are interested in etiquette, and books about etiquette are not in trend. Grey society buys more fictional books.
4. They’re unaware of the benefits of active listening.
But c’mon, why talk when you can listen to your interlocutor and learn something new?
What is active listening?
Active listening is a communication skill that involves not simply hearing the words that another person speaks but also seeking to understand their meaning and intent. It requires being an active participant in the communication process.
Methods of active listening consist of:
1. Maintaining undivided attention during a conversation
Principles of active listening
|Show that you’re listening and trying to understand what your interlocutor is saying.||Repeat what you heard in other words.||“You find this task very difficult and boring. You say you don’t want to see it anymore…”|
|Show that you accept and acknowledge their feelings.||Name their feelings.||“I can imagine how awkward it must have been when…”
“It’s disappointing that it didn’t turn out the way you wanted..”
|Show that you care about your interlocutor and that they’re important to you, even if they don’t say anything, but show how they feel about your behavior.||Name what you see, and express your feelings.||“I see something happened… You look upset…”
“I see that you’re having a hard time today and don’t want to communicate…”
“I understand that you’re really mad at me…”
Dash it, why listen to an interlocutor?
There are 100 reasons to listen to your interlocutor. I will give you a few.
1. You will prove that you’re a mature person who doesn’t need to prove anything.
If you listen attentively to an interlocutor and help them talk, you will prove that you’re mature.
2. You will gain knowledge.
The more you listen, the more knowledge you will receive to use in business and life. And the more you talk, the less knowledge and information you will get.
3. You will increase your human value.
Understand that if you listen to an interlocutor with all your heart, you will be respected. Because only a few people know how to listen.
Or maybe I’m wrong?
We can recall my quarrels with my particularly emotional father. I kept trying to prove that I was right. But once, I tried a different tactic. After listening to my father’s arguments, I said, “Father, you’re right. But, can you tell me again what I did wrong so that I remember?”
Upon hearing these words, he opened his mouth. He hasn’t yelled at me since then. Instead, he started to respect me because he realized that his son had matured and…
“I know how to listen” a reader will interrupt me because he doesn’t know how to listen…
How to talk less. Learn the best hack
Soon you will learn how to talk less and listen more, but you need to understand that my advice will only work if you take advantage of it. So get ready for the hack.
Imagine you’re in a restaurant.
The interlocutor is next to you. They talk and talk and talk. And although they say wise things, your ego wants to interfere with the conversation. Why? Because you’re bored. Not because your interlocutor is boring, but because you don’t like to sit and stare at one point—you want to act, move.
Your brain wants to use up resources and is waiting for action. And I suggest beginning that action, but we are not talking about your tongue. Oh yeah, instead of putting your jaw to work, work on your eyes, back, or…
For example, you can learn to look straight in the eye.
You can learn to sit properly…
You can learn to smile with the corners of your mouth (5% smile). And if you’re already learning it, additionally, you can learn to watch yourself from the sidelines.
But the most important thing is to listen to what the interlocutor says.
You understand well; if your brain wants to be active during the conversation, I suggest you take the time to introspect. Oh yes, take time to observe all parts of your body.
Or do you think the above things are very easy? Then answer, why do I rarely meet people who look straight into your interlocutor’s eyes while speaking? After all, people usually look around. Eh…
Do you know what I’m talking about?
Don’t get me wrong; I suggest that you engage in introspection rather than just focus on it. Make introspection a tool for learning to listen to your interlocutor. That’s it.
And when you learn to listen, you won’t have to spend so much time introspecting. Everything will happen naturally/organically.
So what do you think about it?
I would be happy to listen to you if you were around. Hope to see you someday and tell me how you’re doing.
And if you didn’t like my advice—create your own!
Or spend time reading books about listening. I’m about to recommend one of them:
The Lost Art of Listening, Second Edition: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships Second Edition
Q and A
“Alex, can you provide situations to make it clearer how to listen actively?”
Ok, I’m about to present some situations of active listening that psychologists advise to use.
Although they will be related to children, I think they can help many people understand how to talk less.
Situation no. 1
A mother is sitting on a bench in the park, and a 3-year-old child runs up to her in tears and shouts, “That child took my car!”
An idiotic response would be, “You idiot! You had to take it back or hit them in the head! Maybe you’re stupid?”
And the correct answer would be, “You’re very hurt and angry with them…”
It’s important not to rush. After using the last sentence, you should be silent. So that the child understands that they are expected to continue talking.
After a longer explanation, you can continue, “I see… What do you think should be done?”
Situation no. 2
The kid comes home from school, furious, and throws his briefcase on the ground, screaming, “I’m not going there anymore.”
It would be easier and simpler to answer, “How is it—you will not go to school?! Is the teacher getting on your nerves again?”
The correct answer would be, “I see… You don’t want to go to school anymore?”
Situation no. 3
The girl is getting ready to go outside; when you remind her that she needs to dress warmer, she starts to protest, “I refuse to put on that ugly hat!”
It would be easier and simpler to answer, “Don’t be capricious, it’s a good hat!”
However, the correct answer is, “You don’t like it… but the hat is beautiful and it will be cozier and warmer outside with it”, or “You can choose another hat, I believe you will pick the most beautiful one”. Only remember to say it in a calm and confident tone.
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