I have become a massive fan of John Maxwell the leadership guru. His books, podcasts, blogs and other information is truly inspirational. He writes and communicates in a manner that is humble combined with plenty of wisdom and learning’s!
Having read a number of his books, he has mentioned a number of times the importance of listening to learning. John not only believes that this is a critical skill for any effective leader but is also incredibly important for any relationship to thrive as a consultant or a service provider. This may not be rocket science to you but like me, do you listen more than you talk? If so, what would get you to change this approach?
This has been an area that I have been very poor at in the past. Even though I have known the theory around talking less and listening more, I have never mastered it. Some of it was a need to look good by sharing my perceived knowledge and expertise with others. Part of it was not enough tolerance of different perspectives. Another element of it was I did not truly understand the other benefits that accrue from listening more.
If I was to summarise from John Maxwell’s many books and other mediums the benefits and reasons why we should listen more that I now truly understand, they would be as follows:
People including clients like to talk more than they listen. Use this to find out more about their problems, challenges and how you can assist;
You learn more. Over the last two months since actively focusing on listening more, I have picked up so much more. This includes understanding the real issue, the reasons why something is occurring and how I can learn from this;
You get to ask more questions. By not talking more, I have focussed on asking more questions. More questions leads to more knowledge, more perspective and possible solutions;
The conversation is not a contest. This is not only better to ensure a real exchange of issues but there is no pressure to think about what you are going to say next, rather the focus is more about understanding and listening; and
You will have more chance of another meeting. The integration is much more pleasant for the other person for the reasons above. Your chance of future work and other opportunities has gone up significantly.
Two ears and one mouth are in proportion for a reason. Listen two thirds and speak one third. Any more than this and you are probably talking too much. Leverage this natural leaning and you will be a person that people want to interact, work and build a long term relationship with.