Listening is more than an art, it is wisdom, Listen
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway.
We once lived in an age where business owners held a steady course of action, and thrived through maintaining the status quo. In our day and age, entrepreneurs and business owners are more intelligent and more competitive; ground-breaking innovations happen every day in our lives and these come from more than just one leader. If we trust only the capacity of one amazing brain, then we are still forgetting seven billion human beings who may be equally as capable at innovating.
“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” – Bernard Baruch.
As leaders and entrepreneurs, it is important to consider more than just our own ideas and instead listen. Just opening your ears to hear the words those around you say, is not enough though. We have to be active listeners, and actively seek out the opinions and insights of those around us. Every person comes from a different background, and that makes for unique thoughts and expressions.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen Covey.
When in a conversation, it is usually obvious when your attention is elsewhere. No one wants to speak to someone whose mind is focusing on some foreign idea. So, relax for a moment and be ready to listen. Phones, emails and everything else are not as important in that moment as having strong discourse.
“We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally.” – Susan Cain.
Next, be attentive and ask questions to clarify. Nod to demonstrate understanding, maintain eye contact, and feel what the speaker is saying. We often fear silence, and we should not. If we wait patiently for a few moments of quiet, our speaker is likely to continue. Listening is great for understanding more about the world, and being better for it. But it is also good for making those around you, appreciate you more. I, like most others, take difficulty with those people who speak of themselves always: but when we let others do exactly that, we learn more.
Finally, be open-minded and eager to learn. No one likes to be judged, and if we make someone feel like they are being judged: they may take a defensive stance and dislike us for it.
So, consider the listener and how you can be better at it to be a better entrepreneur and person.
“Listen more than you talk. Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak.” – Richard Branson.
Joey Crawford (leading discourse.com)