Art of Listening
“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something.”
- Wilson Mizner
The one thing I do better than most people is listen. When you are talking to me, you have my full attention, regardless of what you are saying. It’s what sets me apart from other people you talk to who don’t give a shit what you’re saying because they’re too busy thinking of the next thing their going to say.
Why is listening such a great skill to have? It gives me the ability to learn. I look at every conversation as an opportunity to learn something from the person I am talking to. This may sound selfish in an odd way, because it appears I am only listening so I can gain knowledge, but in return for gaining knowledge, I give the person I am talking to the respect they deserve.
People enjoy talking to me because I ask a lot of questions. I ask questions directly related to the things we are talking about. Even if I am not all that interested in the topic, I can still formulate a couple of questions to ask because I am actively listening, and participating in the conversation. The only way I can form questions, is by listening and absorbing the information.
How do you become a great listener? It’s actually kind of hard to be honest. First, you have to put away your cell phone. It’s a complete distraction. It takes you out of the moment, mentally transports you to somewhere else. Don’t believe me? Next time you are talking to someone who is on their phone, change the subject, see if they react or even notice. You’ll probably be met with a series of, “ums” and “uhs”, and maybe even a “say that again”. Besides being a distraction, it’s completely disrespectful to be chatting with someone and have them on their cell phone. You can basically interpret it as, “you’re not interesting enough for my full attention, so, let me supplement our conversation with some tweets.”
If you can get past putting your cell phone away, then you can move on to listening. Take a genuine interest in what the person speaking is saying, and try to formulate questions to ask the speaker. Pretend you are a journalist doing a story on a subject you’re unfamiliar with. This will help you retain what you just heard, and convey to the speaker that you are actively listening and interested because you are asking questions.
While, listening might not seem like a skill, it really is. It can also be a really valuable skill. You’ll be amazed at the type of relationships you can build, and information you can gather just by being a good listener.
PS. Being a good listener will also make you a better
Howdy, my name is Alex Ramadan and you can follow me on Twitter here. I tend to tweet about SEO, inbound marketing, and other interesting things I find on the internet (ranging from comics to technology).
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