One of them will not stop talking. At all. She has one of those strangely soft, high-pitched voices that commands attention but is irritating (at least to me). She also has one of those tones that says, “I am important. Listen to my amazing story”.
When I peek over, her friend looks a little uncomfortable. Every time she tries to talk, the high-pitched girl cuts her off. They both want to be heard but the chatty one is talking enough for three teenagers.
In her defense, she’s young. She’s still learning how to communicate well. I was like that when I was her age.
The interaction reminds me of an important communication truth for people of any age: People want and need to be heard so sometimes we have to just shut up and listen to them.
Listening isn’t necessarily an easy skill to master. It’s one that has to be learned over time and through many blunders.
A lot of people think good communication is speaking until their point is made. Many people think it’s word choice and body language. It is those things but more importantly, communication is listening. Actively and attentively listening because good communication is a two way road.
This doesn’t just mean to listen and hear sounds, it means to really listen to what the person is saying. It means understanding what they are trying to communicate. Yes, what body language can you employ like leaning forward, putting your phone away, making eye contact, nodding your head? But also, what questions can you ask to help somebody get their message out and feel heard? How can you demonstrate you are engaged in their message and that you care?
The young lady at the table next to me is pushing for attention. She needs to hear her own voice and feel important. What she isn’t realizing is her friend probably wants the same thing.
Shut up and listen, girlfriend! Who knows what kind of amazing conversation you can have!
We should shut up and listen more. What do you think are great ways to demonstrate that you’re hearing the person you’re with. What are your favorite conversation and communication techniques?