Have you ever met someone who talks constantly?
Most of us probably have. And, typically, the constant talking drives us crazy. It’s about them. It’s on topics we don’t care about. It’s too fast to consume. It meanders into a string of non-sequiturs. It’s not a time we are ready or able to listen. We have more urgent things to tend to.
There are a lot of reasons the constant talker drives us crazy, and, in time, most of us end up tuning out and will probably avoid that person in the future.
Have you ever met someone you only wanted to listen to?
Most of us probably have met incredibly compelling people to whom we could listen longer than most anyone else. We love what they have to say. But, most of us, by nature of that person’s compelling ideas and our own engagement, also want to ask them questions, want to respond with our own ideas and processing. Maybe we need something clarified, or just want to know more about something they skimmed over.
There are definitely people out there we want to listen to, but rarely do we ONLY want to listen.
Have you ever met someone who seemed never to talk at all?
Whether it was an awkward first date, a silent co-worker, or a friend-of-a-friend who didn’t say much at dinner, most of us have had the experience of attempting to communicate only to get little-to-nothing back. And, often, it leaves us questioning the relationship: do they not like us? are they just unfriendly? did I do something wrong? what am I missing?
Communication is at least two ways and most of us are left wanting when we feel what we are trying to give or share is not reciprocated.
Effective communication is about a lot of things. Frequency. Dose. Engagement. Relevance. And, the nature of these changes over time. So, ultimately, communication also requires a Relationship.
As they say: You have to know your audience.