I’ve experienced something strange lately. A few months ago it started. A young film director wanted to meet with me and get my advice about the industry. I was traveling a lot so it took a few weeks to schedule, but we worked it out. He was an avid reader of this blog, and was excited about the meeting. But from the moment he walked into my office he started talking. An hour later, he was still talking. I finally had to bring it to a close because I had other things to do.
Shortly after that I went to the National Religious Broadcasters Conference in Nashville. Another meeting, another guy. Been waiting a long time for my advice. We met, and he started talking. Guess what? An hour later, he was still talking.
What’s going on? Since those two meetings, I’ve had many more. Each time the person who wanted to “get my perspective on things” did all the talking. Now I’m no genius, but I was a little surprised at people who are willing to wait for weeks – sometimes months – to get my “advice” but then do all the talking.
I learned a long time ago that I can learn far more by keeping my mouth shut. I attend many meetings where I rarely talk, because I’m more interested in hearing what everyone else is thinking. I don’t know if they felt compelled to explain themselves, or defend their situation, but the bottom line is the meeting time came and went, and I said very little. Perhaps they just needed to vent. I don’t know, but if they wanted my advice, they went away empty handed.
And one more thing: Stop interrupting! I know you have great ideas and want to share them in meetings. But the fastest way to lose everyone’s respect is to keep interrupting them. Hold it back. Listen, and when there’s a natural break, then you can chime in. But interrupting is the ultimate disrespect. It’s like saying you don’t care in the least about what they have to say – because the idea that just popped into your head is far more important.
Respect others people’s ideas, and you’ll discover something amazing.
They’ll start to respect yours…