‘80% of our success in learning from other people is based on how well we listen to them’ — by Marshall Goldsmith in What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
Most of us take listening as a passive activity. By passive activity I mean we just sit there and listen. At times we stare the person speaking and at times we don’t even do that. We are busy doing some other task and when asked are we paying attention our reply is mostly — ‘I am listening to you from my ears’.
This is where we are 100% wrong. Listening is an active activity. An active listener involves his/her brain, heart, and soul to it.
The response you give when your turn comes up is highly based on how actively you were listening to the other person. If you are not paying attention then the conversation you are having is mostly a waste of time for you and the other person as well.
Firstly, most of us have observed that the moment the other person starts talking our mind rather than actively listening to the other person starts preparing for a response. In this case, we must have seen that the conversation goes out of track after a few minutes.
Secondly, there are times you must have observed when you don’t respect the person talking, you stop processing what he/she is saying but you start talking sh*t in your mind.
Thirdly, if you are the one doing 90% of the talking then also you can’t listen to what others have to say. You have to stop talking to listen.
All this might seem very basic but it is very hard to follow. Those who are good at it, practice it daily till it gets engraved into their system.
Few tactics which we can start practising to eventually become good listeners:
- Talk less in a conversation. Listen more.
- Let the other person complete their sentences. Don’t interrupt by saying ‘Oh, I knew this or knew that’ and start with your own story.
- Don’t multi-task while listening. Try to pay attention.
- Stop showing always how smart or funny you are.
You must be thinking that if a person follows the above tactics the other person will say that you were dumb, uninteresting, and not so intelligent if asked after the conversation is over. But it’s not the case. 99% of the time I have myself observed and heard people say ‘What a great guy!’.