There are two videos on YouTube that I love bringing up as examples of the state of conversation today.
The first is title How To Speak So That People Want To Listen.
The second is 5 Ways To Listen Better.
Both are great videos, but it’s an issue that the first has 16 million views while the second has only 2 million views…
People are more interested in being heard yet they aren’t interested in making others feel heard.
If you’re going through life that way you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
Ego can be one of the major issues with conversations. And not just in-person conversations, but email, phone, text and all the other forms of communication.
The first way your ego gets in the way of good conversation is what we just saw. Your ego isn’t letting you set your own interests aside. You’re more worried about winning the conversation. Being more interesting. Being heard more. You’re trying to do better at the conversation than the other person. Trying to share more than they do.
When you’re only waiting for the other person to stop talking so that you can add your wisdom you’re creating a situation where each person loses and gains nothing from the time spent.
Injecting Your Own Stories
Building on the last one is that your ego wants to add your own stories to the conversation. You know this is happening when you start saying things like:
That reminds me of…
That is just like…
If you think that’s crazy wait until you hear what happened to me…
You recognize those when other people say them to you, but do you recognize when you say them yourself…
Getting The Last Word
Darren Fleming brought this one to my attention and it’s a really good one. The idea is that ego gets in the way of ending a conversation. You feel like you need to have the power and thus keep fighting for the last word. It’s as if you’re going to win the conversation in some way and come out on top.
If you’re comfortable with yourself you won’t need this urge to win.
Talking Too Much
You know this person. Or maybe you don’t. If you don’t then you might be the person that does too much talking in conversations.
It’s another form of ego.
You might be uncomfortable in the silence. You might feel insecure that the other person doesn’t really get you. There are a number of things, but they all come back to your ego getting in the way.
Some of the most successful people I have met, read about and all that are the most quiet. Still waters run deep is the saying and I believe it to be true. Successful people don’t feel the need to overtalk or to overshare. They have control of their ego.
They know that they can learn much more listening than by talking. And they know that talking too much can get you into trouble. It’s why the police always try to get people to talk. If they don’t have evidence of a crime they need a confession.
If you feel that you’re struggling with conversations the simple issue is probably your ego. I was a big fan while reading Ego Is The Enemy. It’s a great look into the human psyche. When it comes to conversations, look at yourself and not the other person. See what you can do to improve. Usually it involves much more listening.