It seems as though there is a common theme within the self development culture. That being, to become more, we have to do more.
While this is true most of the time, I would like to propose that there are exceptions. There are a unique set of circumstances where less is significantly more.
The most common scenario where this statements holds true, is in the art of conversation.
When we enter a conversation seeking rapport, we feel a strong urge to sell ourselves to the other person. It becomes a game of – how can I tell this person everything I’ve ever done in the shortest time possible?
While you may feel as though a person will like you more if you can prove your significance. The truth is, the most powerful role you can play in any conversation is the empathic listener.
There is no stronger sense of appreciation, than that of someone who feels genuinely heard and understood. Everybody wants to feel significant and the strongest indicator of significance is another person’s interest in you.
What if the other person isn’t very talkative?
Everybody is talkative, you just have to uncover what it is they like to talk about. Your role as an empathic listener, is also to get the ball rolling. With as much precision as possible, identify their greatest interest and ask them about it.
You will know when you’ve hit the spot, because they will talk seamlessly for as long as you allow.
They key to empathic listening, is to generate a sincere interest in the other person. This will come easily for curious people. However, if you are struggling to find interest in the context of what someone is saying, focus your interest on the person them self.
Actively observe the person as they speak, what types of words do they use, what mannerism and expressions do they have. If you have never tried this, go and strike up a conversation right now with the first person you come across. It’s strangely fascinating.
Personally, i have found through this form of focus, to have adopted a deep interest in people. Past that, of what they are saying. A strange enjoyment in observing the deeper level of a person in conversation. However, be careful with this, for if you fail to pay attention to the conversation simultaneously. They will feel a disconnect and you might even come across a little weird.
Observe the surface of the conversation simultaneously with the deeper experience of the other person’s presence. In doing this, you will create a deep connection with the other person that they will unconsciously pick up on.
Empathic listening can make or a break a relationship. Never forget, the key to someone’s heart is to show them genuine appreciation and a feeling of significance.
If in a doubt, say less, listen more. You have one mouth and two ears.