I was in a discussion recently and each person came at the topic from different angles and added their views to the big picture. Some ideas were good, some insightful, some completely off the wall and some incomprehensible. But this diversity of input was what we all wanted right?
Unfortunately it sometimes doesn't feel like that does it?
Depending on our own perspective we can find too much detail boring, diverting off the topic irritating, people talking too quickly or for too long frustrating, those talking too little sound abrupt and so on. So where does the source of the problem lie?
Well whilst you mull that question, here is a thought. The UK has around 30 million working people, if each spends about 15 minutes a week stewing angrily about what someone has said (or not said), or done (or not done), instead of focusing on the task in hand, it adds up to 450 million minutes, or 7.5 million hours wasted a week. Based on the average wage that amounts to around £95.5 million pounds wasted a week, or just under £5bn a year. A sobering thought eh.
The bottom line is that things like this only affect us if we let them. Rather than firing mental bullets at the person who is speaking, take a moment to focus inwards and consider why it is affecting you.
Are you listening so you can understand the other person, or are you waiting for a pause so you can jump in and speak yourself?
Are you open to different perspectives or looking to have your own point of view verified?
Do you trust the other person to provide insight, or have you prejudged them as lacking in capability (and not worth listening too).
Are you focused on dashing off home/to another meeting or focused on solving the problem in the here and now?
Unless we stop blaming other people for the impact we LET them have on us, we will continue to repeat this unproductive behaviour. Taking time to reflect on how we are reacting to others and considering why we feel as we do, can offer insight and help us refocus our thinking on the task in hand.