Talkers, Listeners and Something in Between

I have a lot of calls and meetings. Some are for business, some personal, some networking and some for my nonprofit. On average I meet with or talk to around fifteen people (or more) per week. In all of those meetings I have found that some people are talkers, some are listeners, and some are something in between. I have also discovered that I have a hard time with the talkers.

Talkers are those people that dominate the conversation from the moment they arrive on the scene. They tell you things that you already know and that they know you already know. They talk about things that are important, unimportant and everything in between. Talkers ask a question and then continue talking after asking it as if there was no question at all. I have been in conversations with talkers where I had to interrupt them just to answer their question! I hate interrupting people; it’s rude. Talkers want to be heard more than they want to help.

Listeners listen well, maybe too well. Listeners listen at the expense of conversation and sometimes to an awkward degree. Have you ever had coffee with a listener, noticed how well they were listening and then realized that they had no intention of talking? What did you do? If you are like me, you might have put on your talker hat (fedora obviously). Otherwise, you might just enjoy the silence between you. Listeners usually want to help (or perhaps they are just bored).

Then there are the people in between talkers and listeners. These are the best people to meet with. They ask good questions and listen intently to the answer. They respond to questions with detail (but not too much detail) and have interesting things to say and discuss. There is a tension between talking and listening in these individuals that makes a meeting with them enjoyable. When you meet with them, you can play the role of talker and listener, striking that harmonious balance of something in between. These people want to help, but they also want to give of themselves in helping.

This is always my goal, to be something in between. I have been a talker before. I actively seek to avoid that. I am often a listener, usually when meeting with a talker. But, I’m the most satisfied when I’m something in between.

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