Is there someone in your life who talks incessantly and with whom it’s hard to get a word in edgewise? I can think of a few. I can also recall times when I talked too much and over-powered a simple conversation. How does that much talking impact a professional relationship?
People often think that in order to build relationships, they need to talk about themselves, and impress people with the great things they’ve accomplished. In reality that behaviour makes them look like braggarts; self-centered individuals only interested in themselves. We may do it when others share an intimate story about themselves and we jump in with a similar story thinking that it’s a way to make a connection. In reality, this behaviour puts others off, and we are thought of as someone who doesn’t care enough about others to listen to what they have to say.
The acronym ‘WAIT’ is an excellent reminder. It stands for “Why Am I Talking?” and is a great acronym to keep in mind when we are working with or socializing with people. ‘WAIT’ reminds us of the impact of someone talking incessantly and making it hard for others to get a word in edgewise.
Successful leaders and people who cultivate strong relationships know that listening is extremely powerful. Relationships are built on the reciprocity of give and take. When one listens deeply to another, the other individual feels valued, appreciated and taken seriously. Listening deeply often means silence on the listener’s part for extended periods of time and then asking questions that further the discussion. The person you are working with will appreciate the relationship more when you listen rather than talk.