Listening to a radio call in show hosted by Dr. Ray Guarendi, he was talking about following a conversation. It’s not a new concept, but it was for me a new way to describe an idea that many people don’t practice. As Dr. Ray Guarendi describes it, “following a conversation” involves truly listening to another person, and instead of just biding your time until you can take over the conversation to talk about yourself, actually following the other person through the points he or she is making.

Getting better at following a conversation involves:

  • Asking a next question that allows the other person to keep talking on the topic
  • Making an on topic comment directed at the other person’s perspective and not what you think or have done on the topic
  • Giving the other person space (i.e. nods of encouragement and you not jumping in saying something) to keep talking
  • Not expending your mental energy thinking about what you’ll say next
  • Elaborating on something the other person said in the direction of what the person is talking about
  • Turning the conversation toward the other person and away from yourself whenever possible

Again, nothing new on this list - there’s a lot of Dale Carnegie in here (affiliate link) - but think about how much you enjoy talking with someone who does this. And how much you DISLIKE talking with someone who doesn’t follow these practices. I had a phone conversation with a blog reader recently who was a master at this. I was interested in finding out more about him and what he does, but his very earnest and rich questions about The Brainzooming Group made me feel like I was dominating the conversation, although it was in response to his lead.

For whatever reason, Dr. Ray Guarendi’s discussion about following the conversation has me paying a lot more attention to how others do at this, and importantly, how I can personally get better at following a conversation. – Mike Brown


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