People are always moved by good speakers. Orators, politicians, members of the debate team… After all, they command a certain air of respect and the people love listening to what they have to say.
However, they may also tend to overlook the importance of improving listening skills. With listening skills development, you can build better relationships and enhance your way of life.
Have you ever heard of the expression, “He’s all talk?” Well, it’s not something you’d like other people to say about you, that’s for sure! So maybe sometimes, it’s better to cease talking for a while and start putting in more effort to just listen.
Listening is often depicted as a passive form of action. However, it is no less powerful. People who know how, and when, to listen properly can go a long way. I’d even go so far as to say that listening skills development can lead to a wealthier and more successful life!
So how did listening get so powerful?
Well, listening leads to having a lot of useful information. Wherever you go, people talk. They talk about the latest news or the latest gadget that’s out on the market right now. All these details might not make a lot of sense at first, but you could find them useful one way or another.
In the workplace, listening is a desired skill. How many assistants have been fired because they didn’t know how to listen? How many employees have screwed a project up because they were blabbing more and more about their own thoughts than listening to the thoughts of their superiors?
Remember that listening is different from just hearing. When you listen, you also try to understand and analyze the words that are coming out of the speaker’s mouth. For example, your company sends you off into a conference. Listening properly means absorbing what is being said, and connecting that with what is happening in your own company. It’s more interactive than most people realize.
In personal relationships, listening also goes a long way. How many fights have you had wherein your partner claims that you don’t know how to listen? Sometimes, you need to talk less and listen more. The more you talk, the more aggravated both parties can become. Listening, on the other hands, helps you process your emotions and stops you from doing or saying something you might regret later on.
So how can you become a better listener? Well, you start with being aware of yourself. If you know that you talk too much, you’ll have a much easier time holding your tongue. In conversations, you don’t always have to say something. In meetings, you don’t always have to speak too much of your mind.
It might be a little challenging for someone who’s used to doing all the talking, but try it one step at a time. Or at least, try it out for the shock value. Imagine just how surprised people will be when you choose to listen to them this time around. Besides, by talking less, you might be surprised at how brilliant other people’s ideas are.
Another way to develop your listening skills is by giving yourself a self-exam. At a meeting, try your best to listen to the speaker and then summarize what he or she has said afterwards. Doing this will also help you improve your memory.
Indeed, listening is an important skill to have in life. However, you must also be careful not to end up listening to the wrong things. Gossip, for example, is one of them. Of course, sometimes you just can’t help but listen to what other people say about person x or person y; but don’t let unverified information get to your head. Keep that piece of information stowed somewhere where you won’t accidentally let it out.
Despite being a basic human skill, you’d be surprised at how many people fail to listen to others properly. This could have something to do with their actual attitude or about their life in general. Don’t be part of that group of people who don’t care about what others think. Be the person who listens. Be the person who can make a difference in the workplace.