Boring boss

Are you a boring boss? Find out in 5 questions

Bit Famous works with businesses and organisations
to help them communicate with confidence.

By Steve Blears

Director - Bit Famous

Penny Haslam

Is a meeting just an opportunity for you to speak?

In a meeting with a colleague, customer or client, who speaks first and for how long? Boring people tend to do all the talking and dominate a conversation. It can be frustrating when someone dominates the conversation and doesn't give others a chance to speak.

When you're in a meeting, do you make an effort to listen and understand what others are saying, or are you just waiting for your turn to talk? Constructive conversations involve actively listening and understanding, not just taking turns to speak.

When a topic is raised, do you try to share everything you know about it? Get in the habit of asking others what they know first before sharing your knowledge and advice. This will help the conversation flow more naturally. 

Are you in the habit of actively listening? 

Active listening is a communication technique that involves fully focusing on and paying attention to the person who is speaking, and showing that you are listening through verbal and nonverbal cues. It involves more than just hearing what someone is saying; it involves understanding and empathising with the speaker's perspective.

Here are some tips for actively listening:

  1. Look at the person and make eye contact. This shows that you are engaged and interested in what they have to say.
  2. Avoid interrupting or jumping in with your thoughts or observations. Let the person finish speaking before you respond.
  3. Use nonverbal cues to show that you are listening, such as nodding your head or leaning in slightly.
  4. Reflect what the person has said to show that you understand their perspective. You can do this by saying something like, "So what you're saying is..." or "It sounds like you feel..."
  5. Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes and empathise with their feelings.

By actively listening, you can improve your relationships with others, as people feel more heard and understood when they know that their words are being fully listened to and considered. 

Do you ask follow-up questions?

Use follow-up questions to gather more information, clarify a point and allow others to feel heard. Used them to dig deeper into a topic or to get a better understanding of something. Follow-up questions can be useful in a variety of settings, including interviews, conversations, and problem-solving situations. Here are some examples of follow-up questions:

  1. Can you tell me more about that?
  2. How did you come to that conclusion?
  3. Can you provide an example of what you mean?
  4. How does that relate to the topic we were discussing?
  5. Can you explain that in more detail?

Asking follow-up questions can help to clarify or get a more complete understanding of a subject, and facilitate a deeper conversation or discussion.

Do you offer solutions that aren't needed?

When people discuss issues or problems, they often just want to vent or express their thoughts and feelings about the situation. They may not necessarily be looking for a solution from you, but rather just want to share their perspective and have their thoughts heard and acknowledged.

It can be tempting to jump in with a solution when someone brings up a problem, especially in a business setting where problem-solving is an important part of the job. However, it's important to resist this urge and allow the person to fully express their thoughts and feelings before offering any solutions. This can help to build trust and strengthen relationships, as the person will feel like their thoughts and feelings are valued and respected.

Instead of jumping in with a solution, try asking follow-up questions or making empathetic statements to show that you are listening and trying to understand the person's perspective. You can also ask if they would like your help or input on finding a solution, rather than assuming that they do. By approaching problem-solving in this way, you can create a more collaborative and open-minded atmosphere that encourages creativity and innovation.

Do you speak in (short) stories?

Stories are often more interesting than facts and figures because they engage our emotions and allow us to make a personal connection with the content. 

By stories, I mean short anecdotes or visual examples of your experience, not "once upon a time..."

When we hear a story, we can imagine ourselves in the situation and relate to the characters, which makes the content more meaningful and memorable.

In contrast, facts and figures can be dry and impersonal, and can't capture our attention in the same way. It's also difficult to remember a list of statistics or data points, especially if they are presented in a boring or monotonous way.

Stories have the power to engage our emotions and imagination. In a business setting keep them short, pithy and to the point.

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