“An appreciative listener is always stimulating.” Agatha Christie
There have been numerous studies that show that a person who listens is rated by the other people in the conversation as more interesting and a better conversationalist than the one who dominates the discussion. Why is this?
Partially because most people’s favorite subject is themselves. We all want to talk about ourselves and our lives, to brag about our kids or accomplishments or bitch about our boss and our problems. We want to emote and vent and pontificate to feel important. It takes discipline to not succumb to this desire, to restrain our desire to talk and really listen to the others around us.
The best conversationalists are not only attentive but interactive, asking for additional clarifications and occasionally summarizing bits of the conversation, actively listening and engaging and learning. They participate but don’t dominate, interact and maybe interject but don’t project themselves or promote their ego above the group. By looking to learn they listen, and that allows others to have their moment on center stage and get the ego boost.
Listen, ask questions, and see what becomes of it.