Are you more of a listener or a talker? How do you feel when a person takes the time to listen to you?
We are all taught to communicate verbally and almost none of us are taught to listen. In fact, research suggests that only 2% of people have received some sort of education about listening. Communication is not just about talking, it is about listening too. Listening is not hearing. Listening is equally important as talking. Some experts say that listening is actually more powerful than talking. Listening requires us to give our undivided attention to others by being fully present and engaged in a conversation — without talking much or not at all.
We talk more than we listen
The only constant in our world is change, and change happens rapidly. We are adjusting to certain change when new change comes along. Take for example the changes in technology. As a result, our communication skills such as talking and listening have been affected. We talk more than we listen. Did you know that we listen at a rate of 125 to 250 words per minute? This is not good as we think at a rate of 1000 to 3000 words per minute. In conclusion, we are poor listeners.
Why listening is so important
Listening creates an opportunity to show that we are genuinely interested in others, which leads to building great and lasting relationships — personally and professionally. It takes time and effort to enhance our listening skills. We learn through listening to our parents, teachers, bosses, mentors, and so on. Listening is key in effective communication. A person does not have to speak all the time to be the smartest person in the room.
Lack of listening may result in frustration, disappointment, and resentment in our relationships. When we listen, we are able to create stronger emotional connections with people. We learn by listening to others. Have you ever paid attention to the words you speak? You can learn a lot by doing that. How do you feel when you are talking with someone who is constantly checking her cell phone and replying to texts and returning calls?
Listening requires empathy
Empathy is essential to listen effectively. Listening is a genuine act that involves listening with your ears and heart too. We can best relate to the power of listening when we put ourselves in the shoes of someone else. Listening is a way to show respect, and when people feel respected, they are more inclined to trust you. Keep in mind that listening is not to be confused with passive communication.
Listening is a powerful communication tool that we need to learn to maximize. Listening can be healing. We can encourage someone by listening. We can be kind to others by listening. We can benefit from being listened to as well. Listening is a very neglected area of communication. Communication is a two way street. One person talks and another listens. That is the way is supposed to be.
Listening and being listened to is a human need
Whether in business, school or at home, listening to others and being listened to is a human need. Listening opens a door to understand and care for others. The same thing happens when someone listens to us. Thus, listening is not to be minimized because it can powerfully impact a life. It has been said that wisdom is the reward we get from a lifetime of listening.
« Most of the successful people I’ve know are the ones who do more listening than talking.« Bernard Baruch (Homme d’affaires et homme politique américain (19 août1870 – 20 juin 1965). Après son succès dans les affaires, il a consacré son temps à conseiller les présidents démocrates Woodrow Wilson et Franklin D. Roosevelt sur les sujets économiques)
« Here’s the thing: When you become brilliant at listening, people feel that you care about them. When they feel you care about them, they begin to care about you. And when people care about you, your success becomes a part of how they define their success. » – Robin S. Sharma (Canadian writer, famous speaker, leadership expert and a former Litigation lawyer. He is the author of 15 global best sellers, including The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and The Leader Who Had No Title.)
Sure, listening is an efficient way to improve human relationships, especially in a digital world, in wich more and more exchanges between people are without face-to-face contact. A way to explore could be also listening non-verbal messages, through attitudes and body reactions during a conversation…