People are too anxious to talk about themselves. We live somewhere between the "Me Generation" (30 years ago) and the "ME, Me, Me, Generations" (recently) - according to Time Magazine. Unfortunately, many people miss the mark when it comes to connecting and communicating with people, so here are some pointers.
Habit #1: Have a Positive Countenance
People want to be around and associate with people who are pleasant to be around. Be positive. Be engaging and personable.
Habit #2: Be Curious
The sign of a great conversationalist is a person who asks questions and sincerely seeks to understand. Find out as much as you can. Seek to understand the other parties POV (point of view), desires, and needs before sharing yours.
Habit #3: Listen More
"Hearing" is a faculty, but "listening" is a skill...a choice. Great communicators spend 20% of the time asking questions, and 80% of the time LISTENING. It also helps to restate what you heard.
Habit #4: Show Empathy
Show you care. Respond with a spirit of understanding or at least the impression that you want to understand. When someone is sharing something personal, frustrating, or exciting respond appropriately and with heart.
When I first posted the video above as a "post" rather than an article here on Linkedin, someone asked a question in the comment section. The question was,
"How then do you keep them to the core purpose of your meeting if they keep talking about themselves?"
Here's my response:
That’s a great question! It is likely the other people haven't read this article or watched the video. There is a delicate balance for sure. It can be frustrating when someone gets carried away talking about themselves and sometimes you must rein them in.
That said, my primary focus of the video was to emphasize the importance of listening and showing empathy enough that the other party feels heard BEFORE you share your offer or POV.
So what does that look like? After you’ve given them time to share and you’ve clarified their desires or concerns, you can then position and speak about your product and service...always tying together the benefit of your product/service as it relates to their wants/needs (if you are in sales, for example).
It also does not mean that we NEVER share things about ourselves. Instead, don't share too much about YOURSELF or you run the risk of losing rapport and frustrating the other party.
One last distinction. When you FIRST approach someone, you may want to get to your point quickly, especially if you are the person approaching them. This means you might speak of your product and services initially and momentarily, in a manner of introducing yourself and your purpose, but immediately begin asking questions to find out their needs/wants. If you don't position yourself early on and immediately start asking questions, it can come off as an interrogation. So initially, "get to the point" quickly, but don't live their long.
Read your audience. Ask more questions. Be curious. Listen.
About TJ Hoisington:
TJ Hoisington is the bestselling author of If You Think You Can!, The Secret of the Slight Edge, and Return to Robinson Island. He has authored several high-performance training programs focused on personal development, leadership, customer service, sales, and creating thriving cultures. TJ's insights and workshops have been shared with many organizations around the world. (client list) Whether he speaks to audiences of 10 or 15,000 people, his mission is the same: to provide inspiration and tools that help people and organizations unleash their greatness within.