office expressions.

musings from my experience at the home/office.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Say Something

After beginning my day with yet another conference call, I am beginning to wonder what the best way is to prove you are actively listening to the conversation, especially when you can't get a word in edgewise. My last conversation ended with, "Jill are you still there or did we totally put you to sleep?".

I wanted to say, "Well, I couldn't get a word in edgewise, and even if I could, I would be taking the conversation in a different direction". I hate interrupting people and I hate being interrupted. I guess that's why face to face conversations are easier because you can tell when someone is about to speak or has something to say by merely reading body language or making eye contact. I have relied heavily on this interpersonal communication for the past couple of years, so moving into the blind communication style of voice-to-voice dialogue has made me realize a few things:

1) Some people are really skilled at talking, and not letting a moment of silence occur.
2) Other people, are active listeners who process things internally before they process them verbally. (this would be me).
3) I am going to have to develop a strategy or new approach for conference calls with talkative people, so that everyone knows I am clued in and on the same page, or maybe even a few pages ahead!

I am thankful that talkative people exist in my life, because I know I do rely on them to carry some of the conversational weight while I am processing things.  But I am also thankful for people who are just as talkative, as they are aware that others might have something to contribute. I'll never forget the day one of my theology professors pulled me aside after class and said, " Jill, you approach this class in a really interesting way and if half of what came out in your papers would make it into the class discussion, I think everyone around you could benefit from you sharing your thoughts more regularly."

I'm not trying to pat myself on the back, but merely trying to remind myself to speak up and ask good questions, even when I might be intimidated or even if I haven't fully formed my thoughts on something yet. If you ever find yourself feeling this way, I hope your first instinct is to speak up with confidence and respect, and let the talkative people spend a little time listening to you. They just might be surprised at what you have to say!
for today, I leave you with this interesting challenge...:)

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