Imagine that you are a very attractive and eligible thirty something successful lady out on her first date with a man that she has met on a dating app.
Her dinner date spends the entire evening talking about himself, his job, previous relationships, his achievements, where he has travelled, his car and so on, it’s all about him. He hardly stops for breath and fails to interact with the lady.
The food was great and the wine (which, of course, he chose) was very drinkable. They agree to speak on the phone in a couple of days and he calls her as agreed.
During the ensueing conversation she says that she can remember six elements of what he told her about himself and he agrees that what she relates was very accurate. She was very attentive.
Now she asks him to tell her six things that he learned about her. He is dumbstruck and cannot recall any detail whatsoever.
If you were her how would you feel? would you be insulted? did he flatter you and make you feel special in any way? No, you do not want to meet him again, he was too self-consumed.
Imagine this scenario into a business context, and if you were the talkative man interacting with a colleague or client they would be equally as insulted.
Be interested rather than interesting. The person that you are talking to is king of the moment and deserves all your attention. Listen carefully, don’t think about the next question nor look over his shoulder. Keep your phone off and ask pointed considered questions.
Dale Carnegie recalls in his book ‘How to win friends and influence people’ sitting next to a lady who spent the entire dinner talking about herself. At the end of the evening she complimented him on being such an entertaining conversationalist.
I am very lucky to have a Chinese business partner, a very clever lady half my age. In meetings, she remains completely immersed in the conversation around the room taking note of the main points.
She asks well considered and pointed questions and obtains great clarity as the others in the room are her priority.
She remains interested rather than interesting and she remains very successful in her sphere of mergers and acquisitions.
You must learn to become a great listener and to ask questions, your time will come when you can capitalise on what you have learned.
Let me know if you have had a similar situation and been bored by some self consumed person.