11 May Listeners Are More Successful Than Talkers
In our society, big talk is often a way to garner attention. Celebrities and politicians do it, bosses and colleagues do it. It’s often a way to spotlight one’s self and one’s brand, and is a common strategy used by leaders and CEO’s to maintain control. But being a true leader requires the ability to listen, empathize, and reflect. Earning the respect of friends and colleagues necessitates the preservation, often hard-won, of relations and the first step starts with listening.
Although it might not seem like it, listening is really an active skill that requires practice. Hearing is not the same as listening. We hear thousands of sounds every day, from car horns to sellers barking their wares to our colleague complaining about how tired they are for the millionth time. We put on a deaf ear and, though we hear these things happening around us, we more or less ignore them. In fact, anything that we don’t find particularly interesting or worthy of our time, we tend to pretend (poorly) to listen and enter a glossed-over state. This occurs often, unfortunately, when we interact with others, and it’s a big no-no.
If you want to harvest charisma, enjoy a good standing among others, and be successful, you must learn how to listen.
In the age of a digital lifestyle, listening requires additional effort by both parties. Talking to somebody should really be one of those “live in the moment” times. Appreciate the person who is sharing their time with you. Focusing on what others have to say is not only a sign of respect but is, ultimately, a connection being made by two people.
Multi-tasking is a skill highly prized by employers, but it’s not exactly conducive to listening if you’re trying to juggle five tasks at the same time. We are too consumed with our worries; trying to be more efficient at our jobs, taking care of the family, etc. and don’t pay much attention to most conversations, resulting in less than authentic and genuine responses. We don’t want to put in the extra work it takes to carry out a conversation. But, once you master the art of listening, you will realize that listening actually takes less effort than speaking. While listening, you can relax and enjoy a story told by another, glean important information, tips, funny vignettes, etc., while bonding with the person with whom you are speaking. Sit back in your mental armchair and pretend to be in a movie, speaking with a character. Isn’t that exciting? How many people get to speak with that character? You are getting that privilege right now!
Listening will get you farther than bellowing our demands, and when meeting new acquaintances, it will leave a very good impression. And, no matter what they say, first impressions count! By listening, you will make people like you, because you will make them feel at ease.
Here are some steps to follow for sincere listening:
Make Eye Contact
To have two people connecting and feel mutual respect can break down barriers and increase the likelihood that the other person will give the green light for a project request, be more likely to reciprocate a favor, and have a better impression of you.
Often, friends and colleagues turn to us to vent their frustrations, and although we may not be in a position to make any changes to alleviate the situation, simply providing them with an outlet and having them feel that someone understands and cares about their situation makes them feel better. Empathizing with others will show that you are unselfish thoughts and truly care about others. People will be more inclined to trust you.
Mirror The Speaker
People in relationships often are said to “mirror” the position of their significant others. This psychological behavior, wherein two people each mimic the other, signifies a relationship that is in-sync and successful. This behavior can also be applied to professional and working relationships. You can achieve this by altering your body language, being in a more relaxed state and letting your guard down. Follow the other person. Lean in when they lean in. If they are sitting to the left side, adjust your body to the left side also. If they have a tendency to use a number of hand gestures in speech, make use of gestures as well, even if you don’t normally do so. This is a subtle way to subconsciously affect people. They will be more inclined to like you and trust you, without really knowing why.
Put Away Distractions
The vast majority of the general population is glued to their phones. No one wants to seem as though they aren’t important or aren’t doing anything, so they tap at their iPhones at restaurants, while commuting, waiting in line, and even when out with friends. There is no reason why you should be texting while someone is trying to have a conversation with you. While some people may seem not to mind, you can never predict who is “old-fashioned” or not, and having your phone out is just rude. Not only are you honoring people with your full attention and respect, you are showing them that you are confident enough in yourself that you don’t need to find 24/7 validation in Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Practice the above tips and see the difference good listening makes in your career and your relationships. Listening, not silence, is the golden rule!