There is always that one person in the office who no matter what you talk about they always have a story about how they did that same thing you did over the weekend, but their adventure was WAY better. Then I started thinking. “Man, I do not want to be that person, no one likes a One Upper!”

So, how do you participate in office conversations about all the fun things you did over the weekend without becoming the “One Upper”?

Well, Deb Calvert, explains that it is important to “focus on what’s different instead of focusing on what’s familiar… One trap we commonly fall into as listeners is that we hear something familiar and pounce on it. By doing so, we risk taking the conversation in a different direction than the speaker intended.” – A Model for Active Listening: Master a Skill That Can Boost Your Career

If we are always just waiting for our turn to say, “me too!” we turn a fun conversation about our weekends, into a point-for-point, never ending, competitive, verbal ping pong match. No one wants that!

When we force ourselves to listen to what’s different, you can tune into things that would normally be missed. We will absorb “more information because we actively tune in for what’s unique, different, unfamiliar, changed or unusual to us. When we get the complete picture in this way, we will be less likely to jump to conclusions or to rudely shift the focus on to our own experiences”, says Calvert.

Great! By listening to other’s differences, not only will we NOT turn into the dreaded “One Upper” but we have the added bonus of making Mom proud by being polite. I wonder what else we can gain from being a good listener?

Can you think of any other benefits from being an active listener? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Photo Credit – Paul Heaberlin