In my last post, (Time Machine Conversations) I talked about slowing down and focusing on one conversation at a time. Anyone who wants to improve (or save) personal or professional relationships has to slow down and focus on the fundamentals. If the reminder to slow down belongs on a t-shirt, I would like to offer another reminder – spotlight time.
A question I often ask when running leadership development programs is “How many people do you know that are gold medal listeners?” Usually about one-third of the people in the audience raise their hands.
One-third – less than half the room.
We can and we must do better.
I think we all know people who like to talk about themselves – a lot! The spotlight is always on them. They usurp entire conversations, coffee breaks, dinners, and meetings talking about themselves. People who love the sound of their own voice and who desperately need to be introduced to the question mark.
The scary part for some participants (and readers) is that if you don’t know someone like that – there is a good chance that person is YOU!
Our friend Mr. Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) has another timeless quote:
“…you can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Focus more on being interested rather than being interesting.
So I offer this image as a reminder for all of us. Think about a concert or a play. There is someone behind the scenes whose job it is to make sure the performers are always in the spotlight. It’s not about them, it’s all about the performer.
To improve your conversations, dedicate some quality spotlight time for the other person. Visualize shining a spotlight on them. Make part (or all) of the conversation about them!
The world needs more gold medal listeners.
Start your training now – during your next conversation – slow down and find some spotlight time!