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Back to my favorite subject. Me.

While visiting my grandparent's house at the Lake of the Ozarks during my childhood, the screened in porch walls were adorned with all kinds of tchochkes. There were hand puzzles with various metal parts you had to separate, an old-fashioned bull horn you could speak through to amplify your voice and many plaques with various statements on them.

One plaque in particular said, "You don't learn nothin' when you're talkin'". I've heard or understood this on many levels throughout life but it has felt important recently. As I make my way through life gathering knowledge and experiences, I'm becoming more capable of handling myself conversationally in most situations. Not only am I usually intrigued by what the other person is saying but I probably have a thing (or twenty) to contribute.

Having an excitable personality and enough history to draw from can be a good thing for conversation but can also be a detractor if not kept in check. While I might be able to take a conversation to the next level, I have found if I'm not careful, I can become the person who either: 1) flat out interrupts while someone else is talking or 2) allows the person to finish but immediately launches into what I want to say rather than having listened to and processed what they said. Its not done out of malice but I think it demonstrates how excitement might lead to poor listening.

A couple ways I have begun practicing awareness and approval in this area are by taking notes during a conversation and by placing myself in conversations with people I look to learn from because I am more apt to want to fully process what they are saying. Note taking forces me to write and reflect on what was just said before responding. I hope these small steps will help me practice better listening and thoughtful responses. When dying to interject in the future with something in a conversation, perhaps I can draw from AT&T in those moments.

Go Forth Boldly

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