Listening is more important than you may think. Not only does it improve interpersonal relationships with your friends, family, significant other and colleagues, but it can also boost your leadership skills, maximise productivity and make you more knowledgable in general.
Here are our top 4 reasons why you just need to shut up and listen:
1. Knowledge is power
You’ve heard this famous saying before. And it’s true. The one way that you can truly continue to learn throughout life is by keeping an open mind, and open ears. If you’re too busy telling others how to do things and not taking the time to really listen to others, it’s going to halt your ability to learn and absorb new, exciting information. Learning new things keeps life interesting, and it never has to stop. Taking the time of day to listen to everybody, regardless of their level of experience, will introduce you to a whole knew wealth of knowledge. Whether it’s the CEO of a large corporate brand, the receptionist of the office building or a pre-grad intern, it doesn’t matter – you have something to learn from everyone.
2. People will listen
If you’re a nonstop gabbler who talks for what seems like hours, people will zone out and fail to truly take on board anything you say. People are more likely to genuinely listen to someone who speaks less, rather than more. Think of it as a quality over quantity thing. This isn’t to say you should be a mouse in the corner of every meeting, networking event or office conversation, it just means you should make sure everything you say is of value. Don’t talk for the sake of talking.
3. Quit planning
Have you ever been in a large group discussion about a certain topic, and while someone else is having some airtime, you’re busy planning what you’re going to add into the conversation next? Do you find yourself trying to remember a relevant anecdote or question, and then mull it over in your mind until you have a chance to drop it into the chatter, because you simply HAVE to make sure it’s heard? Well, quit doing this, because if you haven’t noticed already, the fact you’re sitting there planning your next response means you’ve stopped probably stopped listening to whoever is talking. It’s a hard habit to break, and we’re all guilty of doing it. The trick is to realise what you’re doing and actively stop it. Let someone else be important for a minute!
4. A leadership tool that’s overlooked
To be a great leader, you need to be a good listener. There are no two ways about it. If you’re not listening to your employees or your customers, it will be highly detrimental to your business. Businesses can’t grow and develop if they’re not taking on their customers’ and employees’ recommendations. If leaders aren’t listening to the people who make their business run, they’ll all just pack up and leave. Wouldn’t you?
How to be a better listener
- Maintain eye contact: When you’re in conversation with someone, avoid all other distractions such as your mobile or your laptop. This can be difficult in things such as meetings, but once you programme yourself to actually stop, look and listen to people, you’ll notice your listening skills improve dramatically.
- Ask more questions: Expand your knowledge by asking questions.
- Let it sink in: When you’re having a conversation with some, take a second for their answer to sink in.
- Ask people about themselves: People love talking about themselves. If you ask another person about themselves or their brand, chances are they will have a lot to say. This is a great one for networking events.
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