Listen more than you talk.
I’ve been trying to have better conversations.
That’s quite a weird sentence now I’ve written it and read it aloud but you’ll see what I mean in a minute.
How many times a day do you have a conversation and find yourself just simply waiting for the other to person so you can say your point? I’ve noticed myself doing it a lot over the last few months and I’m making a real effort to try and change this.
I started to notice this after reading something along the lines of “Most people listen to reply rather than understand.” and it really hit home. I had gotten into this bad habit of not really listening to what the other person was saying. I was just focused on thinking about what I was going to say next, I wasn’t really paying enough attention to what the person was actually saying.
This idea is compounded by a quote from Sir Alex Ferguson. He says “There’s a reason why we have two eyes, two ears and only one mouth. So that we can listen and observe more than we speak.”
And he’s correct, a lot of people get this wrong. You can probably think of quite a lot of people right now who talk and talk and talk. Whenever you talk to them, you find yourself being overwhelmed by them and you can’t seem to get a word in because they are always interrupting you and banging on about themselves.
It might seem like really simple stuff but putting it into practice isn’t easy. Trust me, I’ve been struggling with it. I have to force myself to remain quiet and really focus on what the other person is saying. And sometimes, that actually results in me changing what I say because I’ve taken the time to listen to what they are actually saying.
I believe that it also comes across as more respectful by doing this. Everyone in this world wants to feel appreciated. Listen to them, what they have to say, make a real effort to understand the point they’re making and you will more than likely make them feel appreciated. In turn, you’ll get more from them.
What I have found works for me is slowing down my responses. I have always been guilty of jumping in too quickly and speaking too fast. Yes, it’s normally because I’m excited about the conversation but I have realised it doesn’t come across as professional, it can be rude. I have slowed down. I try to take a few seconds to compose my response before replying. I’ve also been focusing on slowing down my rate of speech, this is helping me speak a lot clearer and also come across a lot calmer.
I’ve gone a little off track there at the end but I do believe employing those tactics will also benefit your listening skills.
Listen is now my go to answer for a lot of problems. I was never a massive speaker, I’ve never been one to be the centre of attention but I can talk but I’ve been focusing on listening a lot more, and also listening with intent.
Listen, more than you speak. It will bear more fruits than you can imagine.]
See you next week.