I’m guilty and I’d be willing to guess that you are too. It’s more common than you probably want to admit. You just don’t listen as much as you should. Here are 7 reasons that you should break that habit.
If you don’t want to do it for yourself, then do it for your family. Your children don’t feel listened to and you’re not helping them if you don’t. Your significant other doesn’t feel appreciated because you don’t listen. Your coworkers don’t like talking to you because you always seem distracted. And, your friends… well, they’re your friends and they don’t pay you any mind anyway.
There’s so much noise in our lives that we barely have room to listen to ourselves. It’s no wonder that most of us turn to social media to voice our opinions and publicly showcase our emotions. The problem is not the technology itself. The problem is our inability to listen to each other.
It begins with you. Look at how your last few conversations have gone. Were you present in the conversation? Did you look the person in the eye? Did you have a conversation over your meal or were you watching TV or on your phone? Do you interrupt your conversation to answer you mobile phone? Did the beep or notification from your phone stop you from engaging in a meaningful conversation?
I’m not going to convict you of a punishable crime but I will throw a flag on the play. You’re in the penalty. The hospitality ref is pointing you out for your misconduct in the field of play. The game is social life.
As your coach, I have assembled a list of reasons for you to listen before speaking to help you to avoid further penalties. Hopefully, by learning these you’ll find it well within your means to make proper adjustments.
The first reason is that ‘it’s rude not to do so.’ It’s a lack of common courtesy to be half engaged in a conversation. Leave that for elementary schoolers. You probably had more important things to think about while the teacher rattled on about science or state capitals. But, you’re an adult now. Have some common courtesy and give the person you’re talking to the respect they deserve.
If you don’t want to partake in the conversation then say so and leave the conversation. Stop being an… Well, you know what you’re being.
The second reason is it ‘increases the value of the speaker’s words.’ People believe that what they’re saying is important. Regardless of your feelings on their opinion or thoughts, right or wrong, they feeling that it’s important. They also think what they’re saying has some value – whether great or small – it has value.
Show them that you value their words also. Focus on what they’re saying not on what you will say in response.
The third reason is it ‘avoids making needless mistakes.’ Proverbs 18 13 (ESV) states: “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Don’t play the fool or step into shame by not listening. They’re both easy to escape. Listen first.
Number four is that you ‘learn more about the other person.’ When you’re actively engaged in the conversation. You pick up more communication from the body language and nonverbal communication than from the words alone. Not only that, a person that feels as if they’re being listened to tends to express themselves more fully. The speaker is more likely to give more detail or a better explanation to an active listener than otherwise. Be that type of listener.
That brings us the fifth reason which is that you ‘gain a better perspective.’ Your ideas and opinions may be strengthened by the viewpoint of the speaker. Their perspective may not be one that you have looked at before. By listening intently and attempting to step into their shoes, you position yourself to see merits and flaws in their line of thinking.
Doing this puts you at an advantage but also opens your awareness. You’ll be more convinced in your own opinion or find that you may need to make some adjustments. Both of which help you to strengthen your stance.
o avoid further penalties Reason six is that ‘wisdom is acquired by listening.’ That’s right! The wisdom of the ages wasn’t received by talking. It was gathered by listening. It’s a collection of facts, personal experiences and stories gathered over time.
Be wise enough to seek ye first. As Michael Myatt pointed out: “Don’t be fooled into thinking being heard is more important than hearing. The first rule in communication is to seek to understand before seeking to be understood.” That’s from a leadership adviser and one of American’s top CEO coaches. Take heed to his words.
The final reason to listen before speaking is that ‘it opens the door to effective communication.’ Understand that you’re only opening the door. You don’t control others. They may not know or understand what you now know and, therefore, may continue along their current flow of poor communication.
Don’t expect them to be as engaged as you are. Most people are only concerned with their own words. I believe that you’re a different type of person. I believe that you care about people just a little bit more than others.
If I’m right, then do them the honor of giving them your full attention. It won’t hurt you. It will elevate you. You’ll be surprised at how the small investment into people’s lives provides a large return.
It may not come from the person you’re listening to at the moment. The right people will show up in your life when you need them to. Trust and believe that your steps are ordered. Your wise investments into the lives of others will be rewarded with investments into your life. Until it does, be excited by the fact you have kept one more person from falling into the pits of depression and namelessness for at least one more day.