Don’t Mean To Be Rude

It was an intimate place, just a handful of tables, quiet music and attentive but not overbearing waiting staff. The perfect setting for a blind date, which I could barely believe I had agreed to. He was courteous, polite and the conversation began in quite a charming way. The first time he interrupted me answering his question, I put it down to nerves and enthusiasm. After a while I realized that he didn’t listen to a word I said and was running a solo show. It was a short date.

When I heard they were interviewing this particular business woman, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. I was so curious to hear her story, her insights, the key elements that contributed to her success. So I was stunned when the interviewer kept interrupting her and didn’t let her answer the question he has asked before he led on to the next week.  She was gracious and I was super frustrated. A familiar story.

It was a sales meeting, I was the Training Manager, she was a consultant with a very cool company I was interested in hiring.  I had invited her to meet with me. If you’ve ever tried to sell your services you know this is a great opportunity and can be quite rare.  She seemed well prepared and immediately launched into an in-depth description of the services they offer. The problem was that she just kept talking and talking and didn’t even ask what it was I was looking for.

Don’t mean to be rude, but sometimes you just need to SHUT UP.listen

You see the greatest gift I have ever received from both Coaching and Storytelling has been the ability and desire to listen. Really listen. Yes, just shut up and hear the other person.

If it’s in a business situation – you’ve got to hear their needs before you can support them.

If it’s in coaching, when you really hear someone, they hear themselves too.

If it’s in your life – the greatest gift you can give someone is in your listening. The greatest gift of all.

It’s not easy to let go of what we are sure we know. It’s not easy to hold back when we have something relevant to say. It’s not easy to listen without judgement or formulating our own response.

And yet, the greatest moments of clarity, generosity and enlightenment often come out of silence and deep listening.

Do you need to ‘shut up’ somewhere today?

With love, always, I’d love to hear your story – I’m listening.

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2 comments on “Don’t Mean To Be Rude

  1. I have a very quiet client, and it’s difficult to bring her out of her shell. She is in a very difficult career goal seeking situation. I took her to a servant leadership class yesterday to assist her in being around other people to show her the difficulty for locating a job for new graduates. The topic of listening and being all-in or shutting up to hear the other person was included for interviewing topics. The presenter also mentioned a great tip, he suggested the following nuggets. Place your tongue behind your teeth and try to say something, when your tongue is in this position it is impossible for you to speak. It forces you to be in listening mode. He also said when your phone rings place yourself in a mental habit of taking a deep breath before you answer it. Prepare yourself to listen before you say “hi this is so and so how can help you” and then do what he suggested put your darn tongue behind your teeth and listen for the person’s name, make sure it sticks in your brain. If it didn’t come across clearly, ask again. I’m so sorry could you please say again. He said I know it happens to everyone in the room when answering, and half way into it your realize you don’t know who you’re speaking with, because you didn’t catch the person’s name. The reason for this is because when seeking clients, or a job, or in a business situation, you must always be at a high level of listening. If this is a business transaction, a potential client, or a recruiter / hiring manager, this is not a positive marker for any of these situations. In an interview, babbling on endlessly doesn’t fair well either, answer their question, briefly and then put your tongue behind your teeth and let the silence work for you. As a life or executive coach, this is essential to your success, with my quiet client who says very little, I’ve had to use this morsel of advice and she is starting to come around and is slowly begging to gain confidence to confide in with more concerns. The tip here is if you have a difficult time listening to others, place your tongue behind your teeth and concentrate listening to the person who wishes to tell you their story, ask you a question, or is interviewing you for a job.

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