Chances are that in this past one year, you talked to someone. You talked to a potential customer about your business. You may have talked to an employee, explaining about the compensation revisions. You might have asked your sponsor to look beyond supporting time-based work. You may have tried to encourage your team to work in unison with the company vision at all times.

Conversations make up a major part of our days.

While this may sound really simple…how many successful conversations have you really had?

So what’s the problem with that, you ask? After all, conversations are so easy, we all do them all the time? Right?

Sadly no, honey.

I work with entrepreneurs every. single. day.
And it is flabbergasting & upsetting see how many of us really do NOT really listen.
It’s almost scary, how we listen based on what we already believe about the topic…we listen only to justify our existing beliefs.

I know that right now you’re confidently thinking  to yourself, “But I am not like that. I always listen to 100% of the conversation. I am cool!”

So before you go further on that, let me tell you in German style:

HALT!

Here’s an experiment for you to check how much you really listen.

Here – go ahead and watch this video and then come back here.

Done?

Now –

Go back and watch it again.
It will take less than 3 minutes. You can afford that much time with your life.
This time, notice how many things you hear for the first time now…Little details that you’d missed out last time.

Take it from me – you will notice minute little new details that you had completely missed out the first time. And if you didn’t notice anything new, you are still not listening carefully.

Why does this happen?

It all comes down to a culprit we don’t suspect.

We usually blame distraction, overload of information, etc etc.

But it goes deeper.

This bastard is called Boredom.
It doesn’t feel half as dangerous as it truly is.

And these days, we’re all nearly making it a habit to be bored of most things. And therefore, we distract ourselves. And you know how we do that?

We keep ourselves busy. (And yet have empty lives)

So busy is not the opposite of boredom but the effect of it.

In this fucked-up world with fucked-up people (this includes you & me), how do you really make a connection with someone whose attention truly matters to your project’s well-being?

And remember that this person is bored and distracted and busy. Sounds like a tough task, doesn’t it? That’s because it is.

So here’s what you can do –

When you’re talking to anyone, don’t be what everyone is being.
Don’t say what everyone else is saying.

On the flip side, don’t be an entertaining monkey either.
You want to earn their respect, after all.

So what are the ways to not be boring and yet be respectfully interesting to talk to? Here are some devices you can use –

  1. Surprise. Use the element of surprise as it shocks people into paying attention by challenging them
  2. Joke. When used smartly, this helps make you seem relatable and approachable.
  3. Stories. Really well-made stories cause engagement without putting people on the defence mode.
  4. Talk about them. This always works if you know whom you are talking to, if you can understand them well.
  5. Gradual knowledge. Start with an element of curiosity and slowly build it layer-by-layer by adding parts and bits of knowledge. This keeps people hooked on.

Don’t be an entertainer.
Be someone worth talking to.