You’ve heard, no doubt, the saying: You have two ears and one mouth. Therefore, you should listen twice as much as you speak.
Not a bad idea.
My sister called me recently. We hadn’t chatted for a while, and there were plenty of things that each of us could have said to carry on an enjoyable conversation. I’m sure I had an agenda, but her opening statement got me to stop and listen.
“I just finished attending an event, and I have to tell you something!” Her excitement was unusual.
As we talked (mostly she talked and I listened), I realized that whatever she had in her head that she wanted to get out would have prevented her from being able to focus on whatever I had in my head that I wanted to share with her.
What the other person has to say is more important than what I have to say.
Once she shared her observations and ideas (which happened to include plans for me!), she was open–no–she was ready to listen to what I had to say.
It was a great interaction.
Too many times we spend our “listening” time thinking about what we’re going to say next.
In your next conversation, listen. Really listen. Totally focus on whatever the other person is saying.
You’ll get your turn. I promise. But first, listen.