Imagine you are in the middle of telling a story when suddenly the person you are talking to jumps in and starts telling their own story. Just like that. You didn’t even finish what you were going to say…
Communication leap-frogging is a form of interrupting. And it’s very annoying for the person who is talking because they don’t get to finish what they are saying UNLESS they jump into the leap-froggers story.
Which makes them a leap-frogger too!
The reason It’s so annoying is because communication leap-froggers AREN’T REALLY LISTENING! They are waiting to talk about themselves. Sadly, communication leap-froggers may, or may not, be conscious they are doing it.
There is a statistic that the average person only listens to his or her spouse for 17 seconds[i] before interrupting!
HMMM. That means that everyone is a leap-frogger at times. I know I have done it! So what’s the antidote to this frog leaping disease?
3 simple steps:
Firstly, you need to be aware of it (which you are now that you’re reading this article) and DECIDE to STOP! You can’t change someone else’s leap-frogging, but you can stop leap-frogging yourself.
Secondly, make another conscious decision to BECOME A BETTER LISTENER. Listen actively to the next person you are talking to. Active listening means: concentrating on what someone is saying without speaking or judging; making good eye contact and then showing you have heard. You can show that you have heard someone by reflecting back what they have said: “so you think…” or “what you’re saying is…” You could also comment and, or asking a clarifying question to really understand what the other person has said: “do you mean…?” Whatever you do pause before launching into your own story.
Thirdly, PRACTICE. Listening well isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Good listening is focused on the other person and it shows you really value what they are saying. Listening well shows you care.
[i] Dr Gary Chapman. ‘How to stay married & love it!’ Nancy Lundrum with Jim Lundrum, River Publishing.
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