Creative LeadershipEngaging Culture

Are You Having a Conversation or Giving a Lecture?

After a business meeting a few weeks ago, I stayed around chatting with the group and noticed two people having a “conversation.” I put “conversation” in quotes because it really wasn’t a conversation at all. Although they were obviously friends and talking in a congenial manner, in reality it was two people lecturing each other.

One would pontificate on a subject, then the other would do the same. As I watched, I realized that instead of learning from each other, each person was trying to impress the other with his knowledge. So they were simply giving each other lectures back and forth. Everyone else watching realized they were just trying to promote themselves, so one by one everyone else left the room with a less than great opinion of the two.

The lesson? No matter how much you want to share your knowledge or let others know that you’re credible, don’t undermine that desire by self-promotion. Certainly we all want others to recognize us for our gifts and talents, but the key is to let others promote us, not to do it ourselves.

When you’re not on a stage, learn to weave your expertise into a normal conversation without it being overt or intimidating. Learn to talk without teaching. Learn to have a conversation, not a lecture.

Because when it comes to your perception by others, it will give you more credibility that you can ever create yourself.

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