A conversation is defined as “oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions or ideas.”
I'm not sure if it’s because our attention spans have been reduced to mere seconds, but we’re all struggling to have real conversations with each other. Either way, we're just waiting to say our bit rather than actually listening and replying to what the other person has said.
We’re all talking over each other. Especially online in the social media space. Screaming and shouting our opinions at each other. And it seems to be spilling over into real life. I love the old saying “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
Let's remember that just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I hate you or think you’re a bad person. We simply disagree. We have different points of view. And that’s ok. How boring would the world be if we all agreed on everything?
Now don't get me wrong, it's not easy, especially when the topic is religion, money or politics. (Holy shit politics. It seems the world has turned upside down, don’t get me started) But I do get it, emotions get the best of us and we feel like we just have to say our bit.
I think it's important to remember that not all conversations need to have a winner and a loser. In fact just the opposite. Sometimes it’s just a conversation. Unfortunately, we’re so busy trying to figure out how to persuade the other party to agree with our opinion that we forget about the actual conversation. It becomes a confrontation. And when we are dealing with confrontation there are winners and losers. But this time, by winning you end up losing.
From my side, I‘ve been really trying to understand as much about the other person’s point of view before answering. It’s hard but I‘m hoping it will make my interactions a lot more satisfying for both myself and the person I‘m chatting with. I‘m not perfect and I get worked up very often but by making this change I can already see the difference in the quality of conversations I'm having.
People love having conversations with you if you actively listen and take interest in what they’re saying. My mom is great at this. Everyone loves chatting to her because she listens and asks tons of questions. And when she does say something, you feel like you need to listen because it seems like she has considered her answer and has a valid point of view.
So what does this have to do with starting or running a business? Well, I suppose a lot. The skill to be a good listener is one of the most important qualities to have as a business owner. Even though my business is just me, I interact with suppliers and customers all the time. The more I can understand, the better we can communicate and it all starts with actually listening. Business is not a solo activity, you have coworkers, clients, customers, suppliers and everyone in between.
Listening and understanding what their needs are can only help. It’s good for business and life in general.
Remember to be thoughtful and kind.