The Key to Listening to Boring People

I know that listening is important but it can be very difficult when you don’t care about what the other person is talking about. We want to care; we have compassion for people and their problems (OK, some of us do practice pathological leadership) but something about what they are saying is losing us at about 5 seconds in. Sometimes it’s the topic: when my wife talks about Yoga I just stop caring. I saw her in front of the TV doing a headstand while wearing a neck brace. Could Yoga be the problem and not the solution? Sometimes we don’t have the time for a low priority issue right before that important conference call. But every now and then it’s the person who is talking. Some people are just boring! Its not their fault I guess; maybe the were raised by boring parents in a boring environment. Our research at Wynn Solutions shows that making sure people feel heard is the foundation of trust. But what I have noticed over the years and what we now teach our clients, is that if you focus on how someone feels (happy, mad, glad, sad or freaked out) while you are listening to them (not just what they say) you are able to hang in their with the people that would normally send you to snoozeville. Also, you retain much more information (regardless of your poor listening skills) and believe it or not, you start to care more about what they are saying. It’s amazing and I highly recommend you try it.

In-house communication skills training programs :: Keynote – The Truth about Communication Success

2 Responses to The Key to Listening to Boring People

  1. Elizabeth Cates says:

    But what if they are boring AND you don’t like them enough to care about the subject/feelings of their boring stories? Smile and nod. 🙂

  2. Mark Bonchek says:

    Great point about focusing on how people feel, not just what they say. It not only keeps you interested, it also helps you connect with them, and have them feel more connected. Our emotional states are underappreciated, especially in business settings.

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