A lot of us have problems with listening. We talk too much. Sometimes hear too much. But rarely listen enough. We have cottons in our ears that actively block incoming content, or filter it enough so that we only hear what we want. We listen to only what fits our preconceived narratives. We want others to hear our stories. But we never give others the opportunity to give us feedback, positive or negative.
As a business person, or even in personal life, the biggest mistake one can make is to never listen to others.
When we listen to others, we learn new things, we get feedback, and we see paths, opportunities or dangers we might not have seen otherwise. That’s why the human head evolved to have two ears, each on either side of the head. And just one mouth on the front of the head. It’s design as such for a purpose. Two ears, one mouth. To listen double more than we speak.
So, if you are one of those that speaks but never listen. You might have cottons in your ears blocking you. In any conversation or interaction with others, instead of making it a habit to be the one that always talks, instead, make it a habit to be the one that always listen. You will be amazed by how much you can learn in the process. And others will truly be happy with you for being someone that listens.
Remove the cottons you have blocking your ears and instead put it in your mouth (figuratively of course). This would enable more listening, and less talking. With that, then take every interactions or discussions you have as an opportunity to learn more about others and sit next to someone you haven’t had the chance to catch up with in a long time. Give them your full attention.
Listen attentively and actively. Engage with them. Ask constructive questions, applaud their accomplishments and sympathize with their sorrows.
As hard as it might seem, practice restrain and hold back some of your own stories and conversations to let some other folks shine. If you listen and make others happy, they would listen and make you happy in turn.