Open Mouth Closed Ears

They sit in the front row of each writing panel at a convention with their arms crossed over their chests, smug smiles on their faces. They know all the answers, and they talk over not just the other attendees, but also the panelists. They corner the pros in the hallways after the panel is over and launch into long spiels about their future publishing career.

Their entire goal in attending is to prove to the writers, editors and publishers there that they know as much about the field as the pros - that they have done their homework - that they are a part of the inner circle.

The problem is that they never shut up long enough to listen to anyone, and as a result they miss the important information they could have gained, and kill the good-will they could have won. Yes, they are smart people; I've been talked at by a bunch of 'em. I've been amazed by their erudition - but appalled by their oblivious head-on charges and oblivious to the fact that the very people they hope to impress are gnawing off the arm they're clutching at the wrist in order to get away from them.

So, if you recognize yourself as being the adult version of the kid in class with his hand always up going "Me, me, me," here are a couple of tips.

Life is not school. There is no test.

You don't get an "A" for shouting out the answers.

Nobody cares how smart you are - they care how willing you are to treat them like equals.

The art of conversation does not consist of thinking of the next witty thing you're going to say while waiting for the other person to breathe so you can jump in and say it. It consists of actually listening and responding.

0 0

Post a comment