Adding Value to Conversations Vs. Taking Value from Conversations
I talked about this a little here, but I wanted to go a little deeper.
I first learned about this when someone on a YouTube video actually pointed this out, and I had a realization that I was doing what he was talking about. He asked something to the effect of, “Are you asking questions just to keep conversations going?”. At the time I was doing that, and it was like getting hit with a ton of bricks. He went on to say when you ask too many questions without providing any statements, then it seem like you’re taking value away from the conversations. These are like…interview-style conversations. Those conversations aren’t bad per se, but you do need permission to interview, and it should be an appropriate setting.
Also, trying to fill all the empty space with questions can come off as needy and can zap the energy away from conversations because you’re displaying a need to keep the conversation going. Why? Sometimes silence is just what the doctor ordered.
When I realized I was the question-asker, I swung the pendulum the complete opposite way. I started making statements all the time! It worked really well for connecting with people. When you’re telling other people about your past and interesting / memorable parts of your life, those are statements. When you’re making judgements about things – “wow, this house is big”, “this car is amazing”, “this conversation is boring”- those are statements.
Even better than both of those extremes are calibration and skill in recognizing when to ask questions and when to make statements and when to do neither. Discernment! It comes from experience in many conversations. You start being able to recognize what the conversation needs and you can start having these productive, dynamic conversations that keep people wanting more!