Pretty soon after we’re born, our parents start encouraging us to talk. “Say mama,” or “Say dada,” they cajole, beg and bribe us to speak. We learn from early on that talking gives us a lot of control over situations and others. Therefore, many of us develop some really bad talking-related habits, such as: Stagehogging, interrupting or completing others sentences for them, and others.
The sad thing is, we spend a lifetime developing our talking, and other communication skills such as reading, and writing, but don’t spend anywhere near that amount of time developing the most important communication skill we have, the one we SHOULD be spending the most time using, and the one that we develop the ability to use the earliest- Listening. Unfortunately, there’s often a high cost paid for poor listening– from wasted time to wasted money, damaged relationships and lost clients, or worse!
This week, make it a goal to do a lot less talking. When you feel the urge to interrupt, bite your tongue and let the other person finish using their own words and communicating at their own pace. When you feel the urge to say, “Oh yeah, well when that happened to me…” stop and instead ask the other person how he felt when it happened to him. When you want to TELL someone what she should do, ASK her what she thinks she should do instead. When you do, you’ll find that others really appreciate the chance to be heard and you’ll be amazed what you learn when you take the time to listen.
If you need help improving your listening skills, clink the links above to read my previous blog posts on these topics, or check out these blog posts: