‘Don’t interrupt me while I am letting you hear what I’m saying’.
Yep… we’ve all been on the receiving end of those people that love hearing the sound of their own voice more than yours. Or perhaps you can be honest enough with yourself to say that sometimes you might have moments of falling into this category as well (more than you choose to be honest about). For many of us that take most of the air time in a conversation it is your turn to learn that these are known as ‘Yoursations’. You could practically have them without the other person… you just can’t see it. You’re too busy having your point heard or telling your stories. You probably wonder why people don’t listen to you too hey?!
Let’s think about a conversation as a set of scales. When you are talking the most you are at the highest point of the scales. Then where is the person you are talking to? Down the bottom… bombarded by your content, voice, being talked at… perhaps feeling undervalued, disrespected and definitely unheard. There needs to be an even tipping of the scales for a remarkable conversation to be had… otherwise it’s a yoursation.
A conversation should feel like a dance – back and forth, back and forth.
So why do we do this?
Social psychologist Gemma Cribb says the people who are most likely to be over-talkers are:
ü People with Asperger’s-type disorders
ü People who are anxious and babble out of nerves, trying to please the person they are talking to
ü Narcissists, who think that what they have to say is very important and entertaining
Other common reasons are;
ü A bad habit of cutting people off and verbal diarrhea
ü A lack of self awareness and focusing on self
Aside from these popular beliefs there is another way to understand why ‘Yoursationalists’ do this. To put it into context it is when the conversation is getting tough… ‘those’ conversations.
Talking non stop, or most of the time, in a conversation can occur when someone isn’t feeling safe enough in the conversation. There is a perceived threat to them – whether physical or emotional, so they go into protection mode. They have a natural stress response in these situations, which means their default position is attack. In conversations at work the threat felt is typically to their character, identity, self of self worth and often ego. So the questions you can start pondering when your stress response turns into fight and you talk at the person, not with them, might be;
Why do I not feel safe enough for the other person to be able to contribute equally?
Is this fair?
Will this develop respect or damage it?
Do I care enough about the other person to hear their perspective?
What don’t I want to hear and why?
Do I need to win this? Why?
Either way, it’s not cool and it does not create trust. It says…. I want to win or own this conversation as I am right and I have more important things to say than you do.
One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is not your advice but your purity of attention…. Listen… really listen. The goal is to expand the conversation NOT narrow it.
So if you want to develop trust and respect with your colleagues, friends and family… Shut the h*&l up! It will make a difference and you might even learn more. After all, all you have is your perspective and that’s not the real truth… that’s just your truth.