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How Zipping Your Lips Can Open Up More Opportunities
Friday, February 03, 2012

You're looking at him, you're nodding, and your body language is giving the message that yes, you are listening--and intently at that. "Is he really still talking? Will he ever shut up?" That's what you're really thinking, you actor you. Meanwhile you continue to respond with, "Mmm-hmm... Uh huh... Right."

Most likely, that was the last time you "talked" to Mr. Chatty. No one enjoys having a one-way conversation. Why? Because they're boring! Unless you're talking to the President you probably couldn't care less about what this guy is going on and on about as you're being completely shut out of the conversation.

The difference between a good and bad conversation usually has to do with who did most of the talking. People loved to hear themselves talk, it's true. But there needs to be an even balance so that both parties involved can be engaged in the discourse.

No matter in what form, however, whether you're on a date or in an interview, you should always be conscious of your talking to listening ratio. If you want to get on someone's good side try do less talking. Knowing how painful that can be, the last thing you'll is being the one others avoid talking to.

Why Quiet Works Better
Letting others yap away has its payoffs. They get the satisfaction of getting to hear themselves talk. That good feeling can lead them to enjoy your company and leave a good, lasting impression. Also, shutting yourself up prevents you from doing the same. Of course, that doesn't mean to turn into a wall (which can easily happen) just interact a little more passively. Being a good listener encourages others to keep talking and shows a lot about your overall character--that you're not the center of attention or selfish.

Turn the Conversation Into an Interview
Instead of simply putting in answers when you can, egg on the other person by asking more questions in return. Whenever you feel the urge to interject with your own fun fact save it for later--this will be a true testament of your willpower as this is a difficult thing for anyone to do.

Getting Used to It
A conversation that turns into a zero-sum game gets awkward. When one person is completely oblivious to the other who has that, "Are you done yet?" look on his face it's an unnatural conversation. There's no real, mutual interaction going on. The more aware you are of this fact the easier it will be for you to avoid doing it. Grinning and bearing it has it's benefits in a professional setting. Remember, no pain, no gain!