STOP TALKING-START COMMUNICATING (Cross the Track!)–(WOW! Writing on Wednesday:@ 3.5 min. to read)

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I love social media – connecting with others…but that is at one level.

At another level, I miss out on real “face to face” encounters. Even in the “face to face” moments, though very important, I’m seeing that most people still miss a very important ingredient. I call that the “cross the track” ingredient.

Let me explain by way of an example conversation:

Person A: “I just got back from Italy.”

Person B: “I went to Italy in 2000. It was amazing.”

A: “I loved Sorrento.”

B: “I went through all of the country and loved Naples.”

A: “We had so much rain but it still was lovely.”

B: “We hope to go back and stay for a month in Tuscany someday.”


Did you notice anything? If you didn’t, go back and read it one more time. Then come back and read on…..

Both people were talking about their trips to Italy; they were on their own track talking about the same thing but but neither crossed the track to learn or care about what the other was sharing – they just wanted to share their thoughts, their ideas, their remembrances, their own information; but neither entered into or inquired about the thoughts, ideas, or information the other shared. They just talked about themselves and from their perspective. They never “crossed the tracks” to learn about, care, or show interest in the other person. If we were to continue listening in on this conversation it would most likely be more evident at how selfish it is. It’s a parallel conversation; same topic, moving forward, but never engaging or entering in to what the other person was expressing.

Perhaps you’re asking, “So how would one ‘cross the track’? I don’t see anything wrong with this conversation!” We cross the track by letting the person share and then asking them questions to enter in to their idea, to learn about them, to care about their life and story not just our own. They may or may not ever cross the track to our side, but here is how it might look:

Person A: “I just got back from Italy.”

Person B: “I loved Italy. What was it that you liked?”

A: “I loved Sorrento.”

B: “What was your highlight in Sorrento?”

A: “Definitely the lemon groves.”

And if Person A is at all considerate, at some point they’ll “cross the track” and here is how that might look:
A: “So, you’ve been to Italy, too? When did you go? What was your highlight?”

Do you see it? If we pay attention to our next conversation, we’ll soon and easily see who is caring and considerate (and wants to learn about us) by whether or not they ever cross the track. But we can start it. We don’t have to wait for them. Just remember that it isn’t until we “cross the track” that we really begin communicating (transferring or exchanging information).

FOLLOW UP if you’d like to read more:

A few months ago Joe and I were enjoying a meal with another couple for the first time. As we  finished, the other couple looked at each other and then to us and said, “This was so refreshing!” We said, “We feel the same!” And then I added, “And I know why! I’ll bet you are seldom engaged in real conversation…that you ask the questions but seldom get asked questions.” She said, “That’s exactly it! We seem to engage with others by asking them questions and before you know it the evening is over!” I likened it to “interviewing” rather than conversing with others!

What made that conversation refreshing is that everyone around the table took interest, cared, and sincerely wanted to hear more from the other person – not just sharing their own information. We all didn’t just listen, but got to share, too! It was, indeed REFRESHING to stop talking and really communicate by crossing the tracks.  Try it – it’s a lot of fun!

(Cross the Tracks with me on Facebook @ #Cindi Ferrini where I post a CONVERSATION STARTER questions @ 9:00 a.m [most] weekdays. After you read and answer it, you can use the question to stimulate conversation with others and engage with them! I’d love to have you join in the fun!)

Photo and manuscript ©Cindi Ferrini

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