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Question everything!

People love to talk about themselves, they like to share what they know. If you just ask them to. 

Questions are a great way to learn. Both to know more about the person you are talking with and the things they know about. It's a good opportunity that shouldn't be missed. Listening to them makes them also value you more as you show appreciation towards them.

The problem is, we love to talk about ourself so much we often forget the other person. We don't ask those questions, we just keep answering the ones they are presenting to us. And we feel good about it.

I find myself way too often in that exact situation. I just keep talking thinking that this is going well. If there is a pause, if they don't ask any more questions... awkward silence. Even when given a chance I don't act. I'll wait for more, or at worst, keep telling about myself instead of being interested in them.

At minimum, I should start using those pauses, any chances they give to bounce the ball back to them. Listen to what they have to say. And maybe someday I can seamlessly divert the conversation back and forth so that both sides can tell enough about themselves.