Have you been at a networking event or meeting and found that you haven’t really heard what’s being said? It wasn’t the level of noise in the room but truth be told … you just weren’t listening properly?
It could be because you got distracted by another conversation in the room, or you started thinking about something that was said two or three minutes ago and lost focus, or it could be you stopped being interested in what was being said.
Whatever the reason, you suddenly find that you are now being asked a question and you have no idea what to say … embarrassing in all situations and potentially losing you future opportunities and credibility.
So, what can you do?
Many years ago, I was taught a technique that has held me in good stead ever since. There aren’t many things I learnt back in the 80’s that have stayed with me but this is one of them.
Simply, you want to repeat what the other person is saying as they say it, in your head. (Making sure you don’t move your lips while you’re doing it!)
There are a number of benefits to this…
- It keeps you entirely focussed on the conversation you’re in; in a busy room with lots of chatter around you, it can be invaluable.
- It stops you from thinking about what you are going to say in response. Most people are only silent in a conversation because they are waiting for their turn to speak … you will be silent because you’re actually “in” the conversation.
- And finally, if you have a poor memory, it will help you to remember the content of the conversation and recall the elements at a later date.
It can be really tiring so I’m not suggesting that you use it all the time. But it’s really useful to refocus mid conversation, super useful at the start of a conversation (when people are using names you’ll want to remember) and also if you’re in a customer service role and you are being asked a question.
It takes a bit of practice but try it and let me know how it goes for you.