It’s no secret that many people view conversation as speaking and then waiting to speak again—without doing much real listening in between. In more severe cases, “conversational narcissists” engage in what sociologist Charles Derber calls “the shift response”— exploiting any topic as an excuse to bring the discourse back to themselves (often in order to boast or display “superior” knowledge).
Conversational narcissism can also take a more passive form – in which people withhold the kinds of cues that encourage a speaker to go on—such as asking questions, making sounds of affirmation (“uh-huh”) or even nodding. But whether active or passive, conversational narcissists can’t learn anything new, as they are so caught up in their own narrative.
Only through active listening can we engage in a truly reciprocal dialogue (Tweet it!). To practice active listening, writer and entrepreneur Shane Parrish, writing in Thrive Global suggests the following:
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion