Generally, I find when I speak to most people they talk much more than they listen. I believe it’s an inherent behaviour as many of us enjoy sharing and talking about our experiences.
It’s great to talk but I would argue that it’s better to listen - Why? You're probably wondering.
Listen & Learn
Listening gives you the opportunity to learn, learning is key to knowledge and skill acquisition. You can’t learn by talking so take the time to listen and see what new insights you might pick up.
Hearing more about peoples lives and experiences can give you a new perspective on a particular topic or life itself. Think about the 7+ billion people in this world and all of the different lenses through which people look at life - Take the time to discover a new one.
As mentioned at the outset of this article, people enjoy talking about themselves, so let them. When you let people talk about their day, week or year they inherently grow a deeper connection with you based on taking an active interest in them. This helps you to make new connections and build relationships.
When you listen to people, it helps build empathy for the different experiences people encounter. Empathy enhances your ability to relate to others, their background and their circumstances. Embrace the opportunity to empathise and express gratitude based on some of the experiences you may hear.
Have you ever heard the saying ‘Empty vessels make the most noise’? There is often a perception that those who talk a lot, especially about material things, don’t have much to show for themselves or may potentially lack confidence in a particular aspect of their life. That isn’t to say this is always true but if you focus on being a listener, people will be more inclined to be attentive when you do say something.
You Sell More!
I would be remiss if I didn’t draw some synergy to how this can add value to those in sales. When you listen, you discover more, undercover customer needs and have a better opportunity to wear the customer’s shoes as Twilio endorses. With all of this additional information, you’re well-positioned to build a more effective business case to ultimately secure a sale.
With all of the above being said, it’s important you prioritise active listening opposed to simply hearing.
Active listening is when you’re truly engaged in what’s being said as opposed to only hearing words without actually digesting the content. It’s important to prioritise active listening if you want to benefit from the points referenced above as being tuned out of a conversation can often have the opposite effect you desire.
Just remember, we have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason and we should use them in that order.
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Disclaimer: All views expressed on this article are my own and do not represent the opinions or views of my current employer or any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. This post is for informational purposes only and any advice should be followed at the reader's own discretion.
©2019 by Alex Alleyne