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The Importance of Strong Listening Skills

by | Sep 11, 2020 | Self-Help

The Importance of Strong Listening Skills

by | Sep 11, 2020 | Self-Help

Part of becoming a better person every day involves continuous education and honing of skills. Whether this means reading books, taking classes, watching videos, or practicing skills, learning is necessary. One of the best ways to learn is through others, and that requires strong listening skills. If someone is trying to tell, teach, or show you something, you must be able to listen and listen well.

Over the last few years, I have heard a common expression from different sources. I’m not sure where it may have originated, or where I heard it first, but it goes something like this:

“Most people don’t listen, they wait for their turn to speak.”

What does this mean?

Basically, this statement means that when talking to others, most people do not open their minds and try to listen. Instead, they simply humor the other person until he or she is finished talking and then they explain their points of view with little consideration of what the other person said. This is not a form of effective listening. This habit is stubborn and short-sighted.

I’m sure somewhere along the way, we have all entered conversations or environments with closed minds and preconceived notions that we accepted as fact. I know that at one point or another I have probably just nodded and prepared to speak my mind while someone else was trying to talk to me. In order to improve our listening skills, we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable and accept that we may not always be right. There will always be someone else with more knowledge than you. There will always be someone with a different perspective than you. In order to learn more and refine yourself, you must understand these facts and listen accordingly.

Developing better listening skills requires discipline and mindfulness. For some (including myself at times), it can require a great deal of self-control to open the ears instead of the mouth. This week, try to be mindful when you are talking to someone. Try to employ listening instead of speaking. Silence your inner thoughts for a moment and absorb what the other person is trying to tell you. Even if you disagree or find that person to be incorrect, if you practice listening enough, you may find that one person that can teach you something. Understand as well, that certain people may be actively trying to teach you something in order to help you. Let your defenses down and allow those people the opportunity to do that.

The most successful in the world all share a common trait: they are good at listening. None of these figures got to where they are without being able to listen well. Instead of acting defensively, they accepted that they may not always know as much as someone else does. Then, they leveraged that person’s openness and knowledge to help them grow into better people.

I would like to also take a moment to acknowledge that today is the 19th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the United States. I was very young, but I have one brief memory of that tragic day. As we move forward, we should never forget the people who died and events of September 11, 2001.

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