In the movie Pulp Fiction (1994), there is a deleted scene where Mia Wallace interviews Vincent Vega before their date.  She peppers him with questions while videotaping his responses.

The scene isn’t particularly memorable, except for one line that has stuck with me for years – and I keep going back to it again and again in my head.

Mia Wallace asks Vincent: “In conversation, do you listen….or wait to talk?”

I think this is a brilliant question.

A brilliant question to ask yourself when you are communicating with someone.

Do you find yourself interrupting people often?

Do you get excited in meetings when you think of something “brilliant” to say?

Do you have the same arguments over and over with certain people?

If so, it is probably because you aren’t really listening…..putting your own thoughts, feelings and opinions aside to focus on the other person and hearing what they are saying.

Allowing them enough time to get their point across.

Making themselves clear, making themselves heard.

The whole time they are talking, you are ignoring them and listening to your own voice in your head.

Maybe you just sit there like a kid on Christmas morning, excitedly waiting for your turn to have the floor and have your say (and not really paying attention to what is being said by others).

Or maybe you get impatient waiting for your “turn” and you just jump in…..regardless of whether the other person had made their point yet…or even finished the sentence.

Who cares, you weren’t really listening anyway!

You were just waiting for your turn to talk!

I know it feels good to have people focused on you – listening to what you say – paying attention to you.  But people won’t do that for very long if they start to think you don’t pay them the same courtesy.

So the next time you are in conversation with someone….or in a group of people…..stop and ask yourself, “Am I REALLY listening, or just waiting for my turn to talk?”

Look at who is speaking.  Give them your full attention.  Give them your respect.

If an idea or comment bubbles to the surface…..write it down, then wait your turn.

The world loves a good listener.