“Years ago, I tried to top everybody, but I don't anymore, I realized it was killing conversation. When you're always trying for a topper you aren't really listening. It ruins communication. “ Groucho Marx

“I already know that.” Now there is a phrase that does not encourage conversation. In fact if someone approaches you to speak with you and you hit them with an “I already know that”; you might as well say “Go away” or “I don’t care what you think”. You just killed the conversation.

And if you don’t say it aloud but you think it to yourself, congratulations you just turned off your brain and you just killed the conversation.

Of course you are really smart and you do know lots of things. So when your friend, partner, co-worker or child starts to share information with you, perhaps you do already know what they want to tell you. But that isn’t always the point. When you shut them down, you are closing the door to communication. When you turn them away with an “I already know that”, you are discouraging them from sharing with you and from growing with you. The next time that they have information to share, they may see you and just keep walking. And when that happens, you will really miss out. You will miss the opportunity to learn something new, you will miss the opportunity to strengthen your bond with this person and you will no longer play a part in their growth and they will no longer participate in your growth.

When someone starts to tell you something that you think you already know consider refraining from saying “I already know that”. Try not to even think it. And if it pops into your head, push it to the side. Your role in this situation might be to allow the other person to share and explore this information. Your role might be to help them learn and grow simply by listening and discussing this information with them. And isn’t it possible that you don’t know everything? Isn’t it possible that listening to them share the information and hearing their perspective could broaden your perspective? The conversation may start with something that you are sure that you know, but who knows where it will go from that point? But if you stop it before it starts, it goes nowhere.

But then you already knew that, didn’t you?

Author's Bio: 

Margaret developed a passionate belief that it takes courage and skill to be human at work and that all individuals have a responsibility to treat each other with dignity, respect and compassion.

Motivated by her beliefs and the desire to make a difference in the lives of others, Margaret acted on her vision by founding Meloni Coaching Solutions, Inc. Her vision is to create a group of successful individuals who are at peace with their authentic selves; a group of people who help and support others; a group who bring humanity to the office and thrive because of it. Margaret sees a world where achieving peace and achieving success go hand-in-hand.

Margaret’s students and clients often find that what she really brings them is freedom to bring their authentic selves to the office. As a former Information Technology Executive, Margaret always knew her preference was for the people behind the technology. Now Margaret brings those beliefs to individuals from many professional backgrounds. The common thread across her client base is the desire to experience peace at work and the recognition that peace is not absence of conflict, peace is the ability to cope with conflict. For these people, Margaret Meloni is truly ‘A Path to Peace’. ™