Shut up and Listen!

Are you looking to build stronger relationships with your business colleagues? Are you wanting to know what your clients really want? Perhaps you are trying to understand what makes your children tick?

Well the secret is we should say less and listen more.

By Listening – we gain information.

We are advised that we should listen 80% and talk 20%. This applies to all walks of life, both personal and business.

They say that to be an effective networker – we should go out with the intention of listening to others, to meet their needs and help them with their issues; rather than to go out with the intention of selling ourselves.

Everyone can teach us something new – if only we take the time to stop and listen to what they have to say.

By Listening – we show respect.

I have a friend who when I meet up with them, I need a lie-down afterwards! Seriously, she leaves me feeling frustrated and a little stressed to say the least. It seems that after every encounter, I feel totally drained; and it’s not because I have burned the candle at both ends or over done it. It’s because I haven’t been able to get a word in edgeways – and I am unable to do anything else but withdraw and listen.

I don’t have a problem with this normally. I mean it’s good to talk. We all need to share our feelings and to get some stuff off our chest. Alas however, this dear friend of mine, more often than not, remains on ‘Send’ and not ‘Receive’.

This has, however, taught me a very valuable lesson. The most powerful way to create lasting and significant relationships to create instant rapport. Through meaningful conversation we can do just this. We can build strong connections with friends & family and colleagues & even total strangers. How best do we achieve this? We should shut up and listen! A trait that too many of us seem to be either lacking or ignoring.

It is so frustrating ( and in my humble opinion – disrespectful ) when someone is clearly not paying any attention to what someone else has to say.

Studies show that we listen at 125 – 250 words per minute and our minds operate at 1000 – 3000 word per minute.

Conversations are all about building up connections which can help us to develop an understanding of one another. But many of us are not really paying attention. We are merely creating pauses in the conversation, mentally formulating our next statement. We certainly aren’t listening enough to build a conversation and create understanding – we are pausing to catch our own breath.

By Listening – we show we care.

I know from experience, that when my kids were younger and I collected them from parties, the secret was to say nothing – be the chauffeur and just listen. I learned so much more by saying nothing rather than asking questions.

I also work with Childline where their approach is to listen rather than try and sort out the issues straight away. By listening to what the young person wants to talk about we get the opportunity to really hear. Invariably it’s as simple as having their voice and their concerns heard. We all like to feel that we are being listened to.

Bill Clinton, apparently is terribly good at this. He makes you feel that you are the only person in the room. He nods his head and reiterates just what has been said in a slightly different way. This is called ‘reflecting’ and it highlights that the listener has heard what the speaker has said.

Another technique which can be applied, is telling a story, similar to that which you have just heard. This is also very effective in building rapport and cementing relationships; as this makes us feel that who we are talking to is paying attention – and this makes us feel valued. This is great for personal relationships and extremely powerful in business.

By Listening – we learn.

Listening is about gathering information, but it’s also about being respectful and giving the other person space – without crowding them out with our own voice and opinions.

Many people talk – without wishing to learn. They talk to be heard. This is quite normal behaviour – and perfectly acceptable in moderation. However, those folk who aren’t so polished on the listening front tend to talk a bit faster and a bit louder in the hope that they are heard and stand out in the crowd. They often live in fear that the spotlight might shine on somebody else. But to master the art of conversation – we need to take a step backwards and pause; come up for air and just listen to what the other person is saying.

Listening is a skill that needs to be learned and mastered. We will learn more about our loved ones, more about our colleagues and competitors – and more about ourselves.

When we listen – we have the power to get ahead.

Much Love 💕

Supporting Parents in Building a Mentally Healthier and
Happier Generation of Young People