Sunday, April 15, 2012

#15: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

Does anyone else notice a pattern in these principles so far?  We've heard "become genuinely interested in other people," "be a good listener," "talk in terms of the other person's interests" and now..."let the other person do a great deal of the talking."  Is it just or me or does Dale Carnegie have something against people like myself?  You know, the person with multiple degrees in communication and a background in teaching and advising?!  Sometimes I feel like this experiment is a broken record stuck on a song with a chorus of "be quiet."

Then again, those are words I usually need to hear.  And hear again.  And again.

I mention my two-year old son, Tyler, in most of my posts.  I try not to focus entirely on him but this week is an exception.  I noticed something about my interactions with Tyler this week -- my other relationships in life could benefit from a little bit of my "Mommy side."  You see, Tyler is at the age where his talking light switch has been turned to the "on" position.  He often rattles off stories and requests at a mile a minute (Hmmm... wonder where he gets that trait from?).  It's often impossible to understand Tyler and that can be really frustrating for him.  So here's what I have been doing lately:
  • I kneel down right in front of Tyler's face and look into his eyes
  • I ask him to repeat his thought more clearly and slowly
  • Once I understand, I repeat his statement so he knows I get it
  • I give Tyler a high five -- communication accomplished!
This week I have been wondering: why don't I use a toned-down version of this technique with more people in my life?  I need to stop what I'm doing and focus completely on the other person.  I need to show them that I understand where they are coming from and I need to appreciate them when it's all said and done!

We could all learn a lot from a two year old.  I know I do.  And I know even Dale Carnegie would, too.
Tyler: my biggest lesson in how to live these principles

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