Just because you know the benefits of listening doesn’t necessarily mean that you see the value in applying the skill to your own life! This raises one highly important question. Aside from being nice, why would you waste your time listening to what others have to say?
1. First of all, when you listen to others, whether at your office or at home, you’ll learn different viewpoints on an issue and gather more information about it. This gives you an edge as a problem solver.
2. Not only that, but others will now appreciate you like never before. Finally their voice is being heard! You become a source of support and inspiration when you show them that you care about what they have to say and how they feel.
3. Slowly but surely, people will feel at ease communicating with you. By listening to others, you create an open environment for communication. And when that happens, you become an organic leader, not because of your rank or title, but because of the supportive role you play for them.
4. Lastly, by really listening to what others are saying, you can choose who to surround yourself with. Now that you know more about others’ beliefs and values, you can make a conscious choice regarding who is in your living environment and can impact you. Isn’t that cool?
The Difficulty in Applying Listening
So now that you know what you can gain from more effective listening, applying that new knowledge sounds pretty simple. As I’m sure you’ve heard before, use your ears twice as much as you use your mouth. Basic stuff, right? If it’s that easy though, then why haven’t you been doing it all along? Why don’t you listen?
Here’s what most people would say:
“I don’t have time to listen.” What this really means is I don’t think that whatever information this person is sharing with me has enough value to merit neither my interest nor my time.
“I won’t be able to get my point across if I’m only listening.” What this really means is I value my own point of view more than others’ viewpoints.
“When you give people an ear, they’ll just complain. What a waste of time.” What this really means is that you expect people to always complain (even if in reality they don’t).
All of these are common reasons why most people don’t take advantage of what could be gained by effectively listening when engaging in a conversation.
Now, despite the difficulty and challenges that come along with devoting time to listening to others, take a moment to think about a few things:
What would your workplace look like if people really listened to one another?
Would the benefits of that be worth applying a new way of listening to your entire life?
Would you just hear more complaints and gossip?
Or would you learn something valuable about how your business works (or doesn’t work)?