Read The Room.

I’ve reached the point in my life where I feel compelled to send people a bill for wasting my time or holding it hostage.

Weeks ago, I found myself being asked “Would you like the two minute version or the two hour version?” And not knowing what the appropriate response was, gave a non-committal shrug.

For the record: ALWAYS get the two minute version. It won’t matter anyway, but you’ll feel better about setting a strong expectation for your experience. How do I know? If you need to know more information, you’ll ask and the convo will continue. If the person you’re talking to wants to tell this story, you won’t be able to limit them to two minutes anyway.

When building relationships with new people, it’s important to recognize social cues.

For example, when the person you’re talking to begins to repetitively ask you questions to get you to speed up your story or jump ahead; you will not gain their affection by telling them to “hold on, we’ll get to that.” or telling your listener to “Slow down, I haven’t covered that yet.” Other details worth noting:

  • Your listener begins glancing around the room frequently.
  • Your listener appears to to get restless or take breaks from the convo by physically leaving the immediate area.
  • Your listener gives up providing any dialog at all, and maintaining a defeated posture or expression.
  • Your convo being interrupted by others who want to talk to your listener as well.

This experience makes me want to issue an immediate apology to every single person I’ve ever met who had to be a witness to me unpacking my baggage from a trauma I wasn’t equipped for. If I’ve done it to you, you have my sincerest regret.

It is one thing to share your experience and another to set up for an impromptu therapy session with a perfect stranger in a crowded room.

Other considerations to keep in mind:

  • Is this event appropriate for sharing this story?
  • How does this information relate to your listener?
  • What is the value of the information you’re sharing?
  • What do you want your listener to do with this information?

This is in no way, an exhaustive list of this topic but soft skills like social awareness and learning to read the room will go a long way at advancing your career/business.


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