Making that prediction . . .

There are many things we try to predict in life.   The weather, that next successful business venture, the stock market, love and the list goes on and on.

We use many and varied means to make those predictions more accurate.   Weathermen, financial planners, palm readers and crystal ball gazers.   We even have technology on our phones to predict the next word before we even have time to think it!

Predictive text is excellent, but like all predictions, it can get you into trouble sometimes.   In those rushed moments with a lack of concentration, it can get pretty dangerous.   It can be especially harsh if you use an iPhone.   If you don’t proof your texts, eventually you will be caught sending something that you did not really mean to send.   And that is just embarrassing – hits you like that unpredictable change in the weather!

So the danger of making predictions is clear.   But it does not mean we need to shy away from them.   We just need to get better at managing them.   One such area where I think we probably make too many predictions without really appreciating it is in our conversations.

A great conversationalist is that person who is prepared to listen.    Many of us get into the habit of trying to predict the next thing the person is about to say.   We are so focused on making this prediction that we spend less time listening to what is actually being said and that can create all sorts of strife.

Trying to predict the conversation is often due to boredom, a lack of interest in what the person is actually saying, wanting to remain in control of its direction or being short of time in the first instance.   Whatever the reason, it is important to keep your predictive conversational instrument in check.

Whilst we can delete errors of our predictive text from the screen before it is sent, we can’t easily make the same corrections in the course of our conversations.   I often think of Sophie Kinsella’s quote from Confessions of a Shopaholic when considering the dangers of the predictive conversation:

“Life would be a lot easier if conversations were rewindable and erasable, like videos. Or if you could instruct people to disregard what you just said, like in a courtroom.” 

Given that they are not rewindable, we simply need to tune in and listen closely.   Keep interruptions to a minimum and you will be surprised by how much you will start to hear.  Try it out today!