Listening is one of those things that we tend to think we do pretty well and think that others should do better. What if you took the initiative to start the process with those you interact with every day? What would the impact be if you listened better as a leader at work or as a parent at home?
My college-age son is interning this summer at the office of a congresswoman. A large part of his job is to take calls and listen to the complaints and kudos of the constituents. The other day, a frequent caller phoned in. Ben listened politely, even encouraging the caller to speak. By the end of the conversation, the initially contentious caller thanked Ben for listening to him. Being heard had been his true need all along.
The fact is we all just want to be heard. Often that’s all we need someone to do is to really listen. Have you ever met someone who made you feel like you were the most important person in the room? You felt that way because they were a good listener. They listened with their ears and their heart.
Good listeners relate well with others. It’s a vital leadership skill to have. Even if you’re a good listener already, practicing your craft has benefits for everyone.
Five Reasons to Listen Well
- Listening well increases value. Listening shows others you value them. Time is the one thing we can never get back. When you give your time to someone by listening to them, they feel valued. BONUS: They feel better about you, too! When you make others feel better about themselves, they end up trusting YOU more.
- Listening well reduces conflict. When you feel heard, you’re less likely to lash out at someone. Constructive dialog can’t start until listening begins. When you’re willing to listen, you instantly diffuse the tension in the situation.
- Listening well improves solutions. Rarely is the first iteration of an idea the best one. When you listen well you encourage creativity and better ideas are generated. Who knows what you might gain by listening carefully to others?
- Listening well initiates understanding. When you’re willing to listen to others, they are more willing to listen to you. Communication on a wide, two way street is a better way to move forward than a narrow lane of personal opinion.
- Listening well invites humility. Allowing another person space to speak puts them in the driver’s seat. It opens up the conversation and creates an atmosphere of trust.
People do business with those they know, like and trust and listening is the most effective way to gain that trust. Being a good listener is one of the best gifts you can give to another—and to yourself. Listening increases the value of everyone involved. It’s a simple practice that produces big benefits. Entrepreneurship Business Plan