In my line of work I talk a lot. My personality is one that engages in conversation with everyone. Sometimes it is just small talk, but other times it is more important things. I think you would agree no one wants to talk a person who is not listening or paying attention.
How should you act when talking with someone? How should you engage a person so that they know you are interested and feel you care? How about trying the things listed below?
1- Body language. When someone is talking to you there are certain things that can distract from the conversation. You may not be aware of some of the “turn-off” signals you are giving. If you are nervous you tend to accentuate any “ticks” you may have (i.e. nervous twitches, excessive blinking, neck jerks, clearing your throat, etc.). You may play with your hair or rub your nose. These may seem simple but they are a distraction to someone trying to communicate with you.
2- Eye contact. If you are trying to communicate with a person, look them in the eye. It is disrespectful to be ‘listening’ while looking at something or someone else. Be careful not to roll your eyes either. It screams out, “This person is crazy. I don’t want to listen to this.” Also, it is a little creepy to excessively stare. Communicating is not a ‘stare down’ contest. Learn the art of looking at a person with the proper amount of eye movement around them.
3- Pauses. When talking to a person, remember they can only process so much information at once. Sometimes when people get nervous they tend to talk faster. Another problem is using run-on sentences. You need to come up for air now and then. Pauses do a lot. It places an emphasis on what you just said. It allows the other person time to respond. Conversation is not one person doing all the talking.
4- Space. This is one of my personal pet peeves. When talking to someone, I want them to respect my personal space. Most people do not want you to touch them or stand within a couple of feet. It is intimidating to some and irritating to others. They will be thinking about how to get you to step back more than listening to what you have to say.
5- Rambling. Communication is two or more people exchanging information. When talking it is useless if the other person can’t understand you. Be distinct and clear in what you are trying to say. Get to the point. One big ‘turn off’ phrase is “As I said before…” It is not necessary to repeat everything you said or to give out all the information you know.