Have you been in a conversation where you just can’t get a word in?

by Andrew Wien

Posted on October 28, 2020

Have you been in a conversation where you just can’t get a word in?
Have you been in a conversation where you just can’t get a word in? Someone keeps interrupting you. They keep bringing up a point that you think they’ve made a dozen times. Why won’t this person just listen to what I have to say?!

You might try to talk over them. You might try to talk faster so there are no pauses where they can speak. You might increase your volume.

​These are futile attempts. The person is not going to listen to a word that you say.

The problem is this person does not feel heard.
Yes, I agree that this person is not communicating skillfully. That’s okay. You can get the conversation back on track without having to “teach” them anything about how to have a constructive conversation. But how?

Simple. Make them feel heard. You make someone feel heard by

1. Listening to what they are saying without wanting to respond

2. Asking clarifying questions

3. Saying “what I heard you say was X. Did I understand that right?”

You will be surprised. After they hear you summarize what they said, they will have nothing left to say. Then they will be ready to listen to you and learn from your perspective.

Recent Posts

What I learned as I return to BCG
I decided to re-join BCG as an internal coach and facilitator! ​Six years ago I made the decision to leave BCG. At the time, I struggled to articulate what made me happy and fulfilled, and I wanted to figure that out. Wha ...
Goodnight Moon

March 5, 2021

Goodnight Moon
​My son Rudy is 7 months old. Every night I put him to bed following the exact same routine. Change diaper. Put on lotion, then pajamas. Read Goodnight Moon. Put him in crib and kiss him g ...
Radical Candor — how to get what you want by saying what you mean — Book Summary
​Radical Candor by Kim Scott​Boss job description: guide a team to achieve results. This is only possible with strong relationships where you can both (1) show you care and (2) say what you m ...
My problem with goals

February 10, 2021

My problem with goals
​I have been a huge fan of life goals. I believe they serve as an incredible tool to change your external conditions to increase your likelihood of happiness.However, I’m now realizing that goals might have the opposi ...
The single biggest problem in communication
​“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw​My wife and I bought ou ...