The ‘know it all:’ You think the person speaking to you can’t possibly tell you something you don’t already know, so why listen? After all, you know everything, right?
Action: Just listen. You may discover something new, a different perspective, maybe even something useful and important.
The interrupter: Getting ahead of others, finishing their thoughts, acting as though what you have to say is more important than what they have to say. You’re presuming/assuming what they will say.
Action: If there’s a long pause, be patient and let them figure out their thought before they resume speaking.
The ‘one upper:’ Saying ‘oh, that’s nothing,’ and then comparing your experience to theirs such that yours ends up being bolder, better, and more dramatic. This minimizes what the other is saying and makes you look arrogant and them look/feel stupid—a definite ‘no no.’
Action: If you want to know more about their experience, ask gentle, polite questions or say ‘tell me more.’
General rule: If you’re unable to listen at the moment:
If possible, politely tell the person that now is not a good time to talk because you realize you can’t listen properly.
Ask to postpone the conversation until you can focus.
These behaviors and bad listening habits can definitely turn people off and make a negative impression. Do you really want to do that? Sometimes you don’t get another chance to make a good impression.
Copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams