Unsatisfying conversations? One phrase can help

communication , listening , questions , understanding

Turning over pebbles

My client – let’s call him Pete – was telling me about his greatest current frustration.

‘I do a lot of my work on the phone. Too often, I get embroiled in small talk, the conversations seem to ramble on and at the end of it, I’m not really sure what the caller actually wanted.

‘Come to think of it, it happens face to face too sometimes. A colleague will arrive at my desk, chat for a few minutes, maybe ask a question or two and then drift off. I don’t want to seem unfriendly but neither do I want to waste our time.

I want to ask “why are you calling?” or “was there something specific you wanted?” but that sounds a bit rude.’

‘How is it when you’re the one making initial contact?’ I asked.

‘Actually, that’s a good point. Maybe I need to be clearer about the…

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