A few years ago, I treated my husband to a weekend at Lake George for our wedding anniversary. I surprised him with a half-day private fishing charter.
We arrived at the dock and were picked up by our guide. His name was Joe, a super friendly lifetime local. He told us tales about his fishing charters, the residents in the lake community, and stories about his wife and his kids. As our boat was passing by a beautiful home, Joe told us a shocking story of a crime that happened there. Joe talked non-stop.
After 4 hours of fishing, we knew pretty much all there was to know about Joe, but Joe did not know a single thing about us. He didn’t ask us any questions, and whenever we did say something, he barely listened and started in with another story of his own. When we stepped off the boat, Joe told us what a wonderful time he had, and he hoped we would charter his boat another time.
We had no desire to float with Joe a second time.
There are two great things you can take from this.
Most people LOVE to talk about themselves and share their experiences. And when you listen and act interested, it makes them feel more connected to you. Even if you are only reacting with nods, smiles, or laughter. Listening makes people feel good, and just for being a good listener, others want you in their presence. Being a good listener is a great asset.
Now for the listener. When you don’t get your turn to share in the conversation, it leaves you feeling a bit used and abused. You may walk away feeling like there is no point in a second “date.”
My best tip to becoming a good listener is to have a goal of learning three new things about the person you’re talking to. It will force you to talk less, listen more, and be interested, not interesting.
The best conversations are like tennis matches. Back and forth, back and forth. How boring would a tennis match be if the ball never went over the net?
Cheers to building great relationships with your ears!