Energizers: Knowing What To Say

Take two.

I really was struggling with the first draft of my post today. It wasn’t coming together well for me at all. I was particularly frustrated because the conclusion I wanted to come to but no matter how I approached it, my thoughts came out pretty convoluted. I was going to try to write it out and then go back through and edit to make it more sensible. But the farther I went, the more I realized that wasn’t going to work this time.

So I scrapped it.

And here we are. Still not knowing quite what to say or how to say it and quickly losing motivation to keep trying.

And that brings us to our topic.

How knowing what to say energizes us.

There have been a couple situations lately where I just didn’t know what to say, so I chose not to say anything. None of those times were ones where I felt it particularly incumbent upon me to speak. I just use them as examples of what happens when we don’t know what to say. We lose the energy and motivation to say anything.

When just the right words come to mind, it is so much easier to jump all in to a conversation. We are more likely to actively engage in verbal communication when we know about the topic and have something to contribute. We are far more reserved when we don’t know much about the topic. Some of us just don’t say anything; some of us try to change the topic. Better to take over the conversational direction than to appear a fool for lack of knowledge, right?

Maybe.

I’ve learned though that often people would rather hear, “I don’t know anything about that. Would you explain it to me?” than have to change topics. It’s hard to admit we don’t know what to say; we don’t want to appear weak and/or vulnerable. And it can be very frustrating when someone knows a lot about a topic to learn from them because they might overwhelm us with details we aren’t ready to handle because of our lack of knowledge.

It’s amazing, though, the difference a willing listener can make. We can watch the energy level of our fellow conversant grow as they know what to say and we show interest. It may be a topic we care nothing about, but we show concern for the other person when we listen to what they have to say. We build into them simply by letting them lead and share. This can be a powerful energizing force for us as we see the change in the other person.

So even when we don’t know what to say about a topic, knowing what to say to allow the other person to share their knowledge can be energizing for us. It’s just an indirect form of motivation and energy.