10 Conversation Killers with 10 New Habits for Change

There are many ways that we disengage another person by applying conversation-killing habits, and often we don't even know that we have done anything yo reduced the engagement in the conversation. The main element of connection with another person is attention. Not just any attention - but authentic attention on the other person for the other person.
Each of the conversation killers listed below act in some way to drain your available attention, or allow you to use the available attention for yourself, not the other person.
Killer 1: Distraction: attention on your own thinking, activities or needs. 

Killer 2: Assumption: assuming where the conversation is going, what they need or finishing sentences for them. 

Killer 3: Judgement: making value judgments on them, their thinking or actions 

Killer 4: Interruption: not allowing them to finish 

Killer 5: Not listening to them: listening for your chance to say something, listening to yourself

Killer 6: I have the answer: a common form of assumption 

Killer 7: You must be wrong: a common form of judgement 

Killer 8: Total Control: you need to steer where the conversation goes 

Killer 9: Dominate: you do more talking than listening 

Killer 10: Focus on yourself: you are more concerned for your outcomes than theirs
If we were to turn these ten traps into success habits, we would see:
Success Habit 1: Pay as much attention as you can on them, and for them. Not so you wait for your turn to speak, not so that you can find a solution for them, not so you can get them to agree with you. Just attention on them, for them.
Success habit 2: Simply listen - avoid working out what might be happening, where it might all be going, trying to fill in the gaps for them. Just listen.
Success habit 3: Simply listen - avoid engaging in opinion or judgement. Be open, allow anything to pass through you as if you were just a big radio dish catching what ever comes past. Just listen.
Success habit 4: Simply listen - don't fight for the space to talk. Most conversations are competitive for the speaking space. If you withdraw from the competition and allow the space to be the speaker's, your generosity is rewarded 10-fold with huge increases in influence and empathy. Just listen.
Success habit 5: Simply listen - listen to them, not you. Just listen.
Success habit 6: The answer is within them. When you believe and expect that the speaker has the capacity and responsibility to find their own solutions, the speaker detects your belief in them and is enabled. This dos not apply for simple problems. If someone asks you if you know where the stapler is, it would not be a good idea to expect that they have to capacity to generate the answer. If, however, the solution requires the speaker to grow and stretch in some way, then giving them the responsibility for the solution is most enabling. Other forms of expectation and belief that enable and engage: expecting the conversation to be interesting (curiosity), believing unconditionally in the capacity to learn (the hallmark of all great teachers).
Success habit 7: Accept difference and diversity - many situations and contexts are complex. Black and white is far less common than 256 shades of grey. Successful conversationalists will believe in their own conviction and opinion, but will have the personal strength to allow those convictions and opinions to be tested. Such people also know that "if you do not agree with me you are not necessarily wrong".
Success habit 8: Allow for spontaneity in conversation.Controlling a conversation triggers the other person's Red Zone by denying the need for autonomy (more in the book The Success Zone on Blue and Red Zones).
Success habit 9: Simply listen - don't fight for the space to talk. (de ja vu?) Most conversations are competitive for the speaking space. Just listen.
Success habit 10:  Spend you attention on them, not you. Simply done by just listening.
Clearly there are some strong threads here:
Listen for them (in spite of how many habits you have that drive listening to yourself) 
Believe in them (in spite of how hard this is some times, and how much you want to give them the answer) Unconditionally respect them (in spite of how hard they might make this)
Sadly, people are rarely told or taught these skills. Most often, we adopt habits of conversation that work against these principles without even being aware of the damage they can cause. 

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