Ask me about a topic that I’m passionate about, or even keenly interested in, and I tend to boil over with enthusiasm. Simple responses can get drawn out into long monologues, at which point the other person in the “conversation” starts to fade away, eyes glazing as his or her bandwidth starts filling up.
So why am I admitting this personality flaw?
Because most of us are guilty of the same trait. Think about what gets your blood hot, whether politics or environmentalism or poorly written corporate home pages. We all have something that pushes a button in us and activates the manic part of our personality.
The trick is to keep the passion, yet redirect it to something more productive. Instead of telling, ask a probing question to better understand someone else’s point of view. Then listen, don’t interrupt, don’t wait for your turn to speak. Just listen.
Something magical happens when I listen to someone else’s ideas about a topic instead of beating them into submission with my own opinion.
1) I learn more about that person, what makes them tick, what they care about, and how the issue affects them
2) They tend to get much more enjoyment out of the conversation
3) I’m not exhausted at the end
Channel that passion into sincere interest as much as possible, and you may be surprised at how much you learn from other people.