5 Ways To Talk Instead Of Tell


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You poke around the blogosphere long enough and you’ll start to see more discussions asking questions around why the content creators aren’t seeing the level of interaction that they were expecting from their visitors.  They feel they are putting solid content out there, but no one is paying attention.  No one is talking back.

There are a variety of reasons that your readers (and potential customers) aren’t talking to you, but one of the biggest questions you need to answer first is:

Are you trying to talk with people or are you talking at them?

I can usually able to muddle my way through a boring article if I’m really interested in the topic and feel like there may be a gem or two that I can learn.  I’m not going to stick around to comment but I may mention it as a resource down the road. 

It’s when I feel like the writer is bordering on preachy that I just leave.  I have no interest in commenting or engaging on any level.  There are so many other places where I can hang out and feel like part of a community that I have no need to spend time anywhere where I don’t feel like my opinion would be valuable.

So if we are truly in it to get some conversations going (and let’s be honest- some people aren’t)  then there are a few different things that you can do:

  • Ask questions- lots of them.  As soon as you shift the attention from you to the other person, you’ve opened up a whole new dynamic.  People love to share their own feelings and experiences, and it’s refreshing to feel like you’ve contributing to the greater collective on a topic.
  • Keep an open mind. The whole point of effective two-way communication is the ability to freely exchange thoughts and ideas.  And it doesn’t have to be a debate.  It’s recognition that we are all wired a wee bit differently, and sometimes we can learn more by simply listening then trying to push our own agenda.  If you shut people down by trying to convince them that the only right way is your way, you’ll soon find you are talking to yourself.
  • Show up and show interest. I hate talking to someone and then watching their eyes drift over my shoulder or to another part of the room.  Hello, am I boring you?  This is something you have to be especially conscious of if it’s an online interaction.  If you ask a question that someone answers, and you don’t respond, you are sending a clear message that you weren’t interested to begin with, whether you realize it or not.
  • Come up with new ideas.  If I’m digging for some gold on a topic, there is nothing more frustrating than pulling up a Google search and seeing the same old concepts recycled over and over again.  But you get my interest and attention when you start showing me something new, and when you do that, I’ll be asking you questions about it.  I won’t be able to help myself!
  • Grow a thick skin.  It’s inevitable that as soon as you start to say something original, you are going to find there are people who don’t agree with you, and who are not afraid to be vocal about it.  You can’t take it personally, but keep the dialogue positive and constructive.  (But outright abuse is rude and should never be tolerated.)

?If you are doing all of these things right, you are going to find that you aren’t talking to an empty room any longer.  And the more you engage your audience, the more likely they are going to tell their friends, and come back again and again.

Take a look back at your last few days of interactions.  Have you been talking or telling?


(photo credit @boetter)

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Christy Smith
ThinkBlot Communications
I have over a decade of experience in client account management and satisfaction, and I have helped large organizations develop products strategies that gain maximum buy-in during implementation. In my previous roles, my client portfolio has included Fortune 500 companies in the Financial Services, Healthcare, Retail, IT, and Telecommunications industries.


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