I realized that after experiencing both the good and the bad, the one universal desire that everyone has in common— people want to be understood and heard. Every time we open ourselves up to the world, we welcome in criticism, judgment, and every day reality that makes us flawed and human. So, most of us are grateful when we meet nonjudgmental people.
Some people are more introverted than others, but everyone to some degree enjoys having the opportunity to be heard. And unfortunately we’ve all been a little guilty of interrupting others only to insert our own experiences, stories, perspective, and opinion. Extroverted individuals are often guilty of selling themselves a little too much. Personally, I have always experienced social anxiety. Most people wouldn’t know it because I appear quite talkative, energetic, and openly friendly to any stranger I meet. Though, inside, I am aware of nervous energy and social anxiety that have always been with me.
I’ve always been a believer in introspection and doing a thorough internal examination because this is the only way we can ever truly grow. People often have a bucket list of things that they’d like to achieve before they exit this world. But, rarely do individuals decide that they’d like to conquer some of their personal fears. Ever since I was a kid, I have always noticed that twinge of social awkwardness that never let me forget that I was neither fully Hispanic nor fully Asian, but something else entirely.
I was a hybrid of many cultures and traveling all throughout this country, experiencing 30 some odd states; my perspective has been influenced by an eclectic array of communities.
And no matter how much exposure to the numerous individuals that have crossed my path, fear of crowds has always been something I have had to work hard to overcome. Even when meeting up with people that I have met a few times and aren’t considered total strangers I notice the nervous tightness in my gut. The one thing that has helped me during interactions with others is to make it completely about them. My previous experience producing news for an ABC affiliate in New York helped to hone my interviewing skills.
Save any further questions you might have after the person has finished their thought. If you interrupt someone during a thought, it might throw them off track, and it’s also rude. I have found that by asking more questions and listening rather than talking forces you to take the focus off of yourself. This eliminates the chance that you might over talk, over sell yourself, or otherwise monopolize the conversation.
A conversation is supposed to be a dialogue and not a monologue. When you practice active listening, people are willing to open up more, and this allows for any social awkwardness to slowly dissipate. Listening just enough to hurry the speaker so that you can have the floor to talk is not truly listening.
The Bottom Line
Being a good listener is a great way to open up your soul to people. It provides an opportunity to really bond with someone else and gives you a new perspective or insight about the person you’re speaking to, that you might not have known otherwise. You learn more about others and they are more likely to remember you when you make it about them and not about yourself.
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This entry was posted in Relationships and tagged active listening, Ernest Hemingway Quote, Good Listening Skills, Healthy Relationship skills, individuals, Journalist asking questions, Listen more, Listening to others, perspective, Relationships & Listening, social anxiety, speak less.