The Case for Listening

Have you faced a situation where you had gone to a meeting to share something but by the end of the meeting all you did was to listen to the other person talk about their work and never bothered to listen to what you had to say?

If you have experienced it, I am sure it made you cringe inside.

Switching sides, have you been on the other end where someone came to meet you to share their idea and all you did was to talk nonstop about you and your work and never bother to listen to what they had to say?

I am sure you can guess what the reaction was on their end. Yes, they would have cringed inside.

In this article, I want to make a simple case for listening – the corollary will be a case for shutting up most of the time.

First some background:

Unless you make money talking, the way to grow is by doing something to create something of value that someone else out there is willing to pay. You get a premium based on many factors – for example 1) you create higher value compared to available options in the marketplace 2) you do that “something” faster than available options in the marketplace 3) you do that “something” reliably as compared to available options in the marketplace.

If you are with me so far, notice that the focus was on “doing” and “creating” and not talking about doing and creating.

Now, let us come to the point:

To be totally effective, you have to be doing something now or increasing your capacity to do something in the future. With that in mind, talking will NOT help in either of them. May be a little bit in the first part – if talking involves getting things done but only really. Listening on the other hand has many advantages. Here are a few of them ( all of these assume that you are listening to the right sources )

1. Listening increases your awareness – probably opening up a new worlds for you.

2. Listening helps you to understand the person better ( so that you know what you should talk – when you do talk )

3. Listening makes the other person valued. Remember that people forget what you said but will always remember how you made them feel.

4. Listening is what might give you more information about a better way to “do” things that are on your plate.

5. Listening is what might give you the “increased capacity for future action.”

6. Listening might bring back “previously stored” information to the forefront

7. Listening is where the leverage is 🙂

When I was young one of my teacher always used to tell us – “Guys, remember that there is a reason why God has given us one mouth and two ears.”

Have a great weekend.

Note: Photo Courtesy: Karith on Flickr