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Have you ever been in the midst of a crucial conversation (a fight with your partner, a disagreement with a coworker, or hashing out an issue with a friend) and realized that all your discussions were going nowhere? Maybe both parties were stubborn in their stance on the issue at hand. Maybe each person was more concerned with being “right” than with finding a middle ground. Or maybe the conversation came to a halt because there was no resolution in sight.

Egos can disrupt the communication process, especially during high-stakes conversations. However, these two tips on keeping your own ego in check while communicating will help you stay grounded and resolve the issue faster!

1. Become more efficient in finding the common ground. “In the beginning of our relationship, while we were still getting to know each other's personalities, we would spend hours talking through issues or trying to make sure our points were clear to the other person,” April Lovett, Host of Success in Black and White, The Podcast says. “As we grew in our relationship and knowledge about each other, the length of time we spent trying to make sure our points were understood by the other person shrunk. But, this wasn’t just about being more efficient in getting our point across. It was also because we’d learned to keep our egos in check,” she says. “Our egos used to dictate that a fight or an intense conversation was primarily about being heard. Now, conversations about issues are more about finding our common ground. It requires both being heard and hearing the other person out.”

2. Actually listen. “I know what everyone thinks active listening is,” says Darryl Lovett, Host of Success in Black and White, The Podcast. “People think that it’s engaging with another person as you listen to them speak. And in some ways, that’s true. But there is one thing that a person like me, who stays silent most of the time until I’m ready to speak, cannot stand from an ‘active listener’,” he counters. “If you are listening to me but your are constantly trying to engage as an active listener with words, I struggle with that. For example, if you are constantly interrupting my speaking to interject “uh-huh’s”, “oh yeah’s”, or some other filler phrase, I feel like you are trying to rush me through what I’m saying,” Darryl explains. “But the worst offense is someone that tries to finish my sentence for me. So you think you’re that much smarter than me that you can complete my sentence instead of letting me do it for myself?” he quips.

Want more of this conversation? Tune in to the episode of the podcast below to hear Darryl & April’s full conversation on knowing when to be quiet:

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