When Is Sharing Too Much?
Someone asks you a question.
You go overboard giving an answer.
To you, you are sharing all you know about the subject because the person asked and you feel he is interested in what you have to say.
No sooner than later, you find your audience distraught, giving off some awkward responses or plain dozing.
Then you are wondering, “Did I miss something?…”
Those awkward moments… I’ve had them too. And I don’t take them personal. I just learn from them and move on. At such moments, I ponder along these lines;
1. What is going on at this point?
2. Am I rambling too much?
3. Am I giving an answer out of context?
4. Is this person just tired?
And most important;
5. Did I get the objective of this question?
As a respondent, for one given to much words, it is very easy to just jump straight at a question without giving it much thought.
But in any case, you want to have your response received as having answered the question satisfactorily.
To do this, you must first understand the objective of a question.
Once, I asked my aunt a question. In response, she asked,
“Why do you ask this; to know or to uphold what you already know?”
At this point, I learned something interesting;
“People ask questions for very different reasons”.
As a respondent, which you can be at any time, you must know this.
The objective of a question can range from anything as stirring up an argument to creating a comedy skit.
You sure have to figure this out before attempting to give a reply.
But how can you get this objective?
1. You can ask directly, as in the case of my aunt.
2. You can ask for the question to be rephrased.
3. You can rephrase the question while passing it by the questioner.
4. You can make a mental note using clues surrounding the interview. This is as good as a guess. Depending on the number of available clues, it is not always accurate.
Now you know the objective. What are you going to tell? Everything you know about the subject?
I find this story interesting – taken from the Holy Bible – Jesus was speaking to his disciples at the time of his departure. And he said to them,
…I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now…
Ever wondered why someone would doze off or become distraught when listening to you?
It may be fatigue on the person’s part or anxiety of some sort. But more often than not, I dare say it’s information overload which occurs when you are sharing more than your audience can receive.
Receive – because of their level of understanding of the subject, level of interest about the subject, or even the objective of the question.
So how can you avoid this?
Here are some things I try that I can recommend;
1. Make a mental note of your level of awareness of the subject and what about it you can share.
2. Make a mental note of your audience’s level of awareness of the subject as you speak.
3. Make a mental note of your audience’s level of interest as you speak.
4. Take breaks in between conversation to evaluate the flow of the conversation.
5. As a rule, do not share more than your audience can receive per time. You don’t throw good stuff on people. It is not valued.
6. When you slip, as you often will, do not take it personal. Just learn from it and move on.
The world is full of many talkers that will have to deal with this more than others. I think these people are just great as any other.
I know because Jesus had one on his team – Peter, you remember? The talker in the crew, yet loved and accepted as the others; slips, flaws, and all.
So you don’t let anybody talk you down if you are in this category.
You should know you are loved and accepted all the same. Then you go on to enjoy the process of becoming a more sensitive listener and effective communicator or in this case, respondent.
Cheers to better experiences in communication and relationships!
Got more tips to share on this? Comment down below.