Five years ago, I realized that I was a terrible listener. When I communicated with other people, I unconsciously waited for my turn to speak. Most of the time, I wouldn’t even wait for them to finish. I would unapologetically interrupt them and rush to my personal story or idea. Long story short it was all about me.
As you can imagine, when you are a lousy listener, many people will return the favor, with a few exceptions who are naturally good listeners. Compared to those “naturals", I have been consciously trying to become a better listener to this day, using a practice that you will find at the end of the story.
Sooner or later, I discovered that nourishing a relationship without the proper communication skills will lead to a dead end.
Most people, when they want to develop their communication skills, focus first on speech. People tend to believe that being a smooth talker is the pinnacle of forming relationships. The reality is far from it. Based on the Journal of research in personality, listening skills pose a much more significant factor than talking skills.
“Expressive communication has received the lion’s share of attention in leadership, but receptive behavior matters, too”- Daniel Ames, Columbia University
You can think about it yourself…
What kind of people do you trust most? Is it those who usually listen to you patiently or those who know their way with words and typically have control of the conversation? It is quite clear that, regardless how smooth of a talker you are, listening carefully is more important when it comes to quality relationships. And by listening carefully, I’m not referring only to the literal part of taking in sounds.
The listener’s invisible weapon: Body language reading
All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances. And one man in his time plays many roles. — Shakespeare
Hearing people when they speak while you are impatiently waiting for your turn diminishes not only your influence but also your ability to read their body-language hence their true interests, moods and maybe wishes. People are…