My partner and I have been having a bit of a water issue lately so I’m really keeping on top of the weather and paying attention to when they’re calling for rain. So the other morning I was telling him that I had gone online and checked the weather for the next few days and there was rain predicted on whichever days it was predicted. And he interrupted me at what he thought was the end of my sentence and thought and said something about the likelihood of the rain and then when he was done I finished what I had been trying to tell him.
There was no argument and no issues and certainly wasn’t a big deal, but it got me thinking because I had all the information and data to tell him yet I wasn’t able to finish the thought before he jumped in with his questions and thoughts. This is fine when a couple or a group are trying to brainstorm or in a situation where many voices is a good thing. But in this case it wasn’t a good thing because I was going to address exactly what he brought up before he interrupted me. This is one reason why I like technology like texting, messaging and emails which allow you to get out a full thought. There’s no possible interruptions, you can put out your full thought (hopefully a well thought-out thought) and they then have the opportunity to send back an equally well considered thought, hopefully not one stuck on reaction.
That said, something is often lost when you’re talking virtually and not in person. Some conversations deserve the respect of being done in person and I know how hard it is to keep your mouth closed when someone is talking about something and you have an idea or a question or think they’re missing something or are wrong about something. It’s one reason why I keep paper and pen next to me at all times at my desk, use a pad when talking with clients, and even suggest to clients to use it as a tool when they’re having (tough) conversations with a team member at work or even with their partner at home. That way the thought or idea gets written down and can be brought up when there’s a true space in conversation and not as an interruption which can escalate the conversation. It also gives you a chance to reflect before just saying something, which means you can hopefully avoid saying something cruel or hurtful.
I love when someone has excitement for life, or a story they want to tell, an idea they want to share, or has great information to share. But it can be easy to get caught up in that excitement and be tripping over each other to get the words out. That excitement can also cause some serious damage if we’re not careful and don’t take the time to think and truly converse with each other by both speaking and listening. Will you join me in being a better listener and communicator this week?