The value of listening

Answering before listening is both stupid and rude. Proverbs 18vs13

The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people. Woodrow Wilson

An extract from Becoming a Person of Influence by John C Maxwell and Jim Dorman.

People of influence understand the incredible value of becoming a good listener. The ability to skillfully listen is one key to gaining influence with others. Sadly, most people are too busy waiting for their turn to speak that they barely ever listen to others.

Benefits of listening to others:

Listening shows respect

The mistake that a lot of people make in communication is trying very hard to impress others. They try to make themselves appear smart, witty and entertaining. But for those who want to relate well with others, you have to focus on what others have to offer. Be impressed and interested, not impressive and interesting.

“You can make more friends in two weeks by becoming a good listener than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in you.” Dale Carnegie

Listening builds relationships

People who are self-focused and who talk about themselves and their concerns all the time rarely develop strong relationships with others. “Big people monopolize the listening. Small people monopolize the talking” David Schwartz. By becoming a good listener you are able to connect with others on more levels and develop stronger, deeper relationships because you are interested in meeting a need.

Listening increases knowledge

It’s amazing the things that you can learn about your friends, your family, your job and yourself when you decide to really listen to others. Beware of putting yourself in a position where you think you know all the answers. It’s almost impossible to see yourself as an expert and continue to grow and learn at the same time.

“A deaf ear is evidence of a closed mind.”

Listening generates ideas

When you constantly listen to others, it’s impossible to suffer from bad ideas. Plutarch of ancient Greece asserted, “Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.” If you give people opportunities to share their thoughts, and you listen with an open mind, there will always be a flow of new ideas.

Listening builds loyalty

When you don’t make a practice of listening to others, people always find others who will. Anytime employees, spouses, colleagues, children or friends no longer believe they are being listened to, they seek out people who will give them what they want. “The friends who listen to us are the ones we move towards, and we want to sit in their radius.”

Listening is a great way to help others and yourself 

Roger G. Imhoff urged, “Let others confide in you. It may not help you, but it surely will help them.” At first, listening to others might only seem to benefit them. But when you become a good listener, you put yourself in a position to help yourself too. You have the ability to develop strong relationships, gather valuable information and increase your understanding of yourself and others.

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