Blog with Joel Brookman

Listen More and Talk Less

“A wise man once said nothing.”

“I know” are two dangerous words. If you know everything, you will learn nothing. Furthermore, nobody likes a know-it-all. Perhaps it makes sense to listen more and talk less. Get interested and take advantage of opportunities to increase your knowledge base.

Stop assuming

As someone begins speaking about a subject that you are knowledgeable about, resist the urge to interject your thoughts. Allow them to speak and see if anything comes up that you didn’t know.

Defer to an expert

When speaking with a subject matter expert, let go of that which you think you know and take in the knowledge that is being espoused.

Allow people to speak

It is human nature to want to be heard. When someone is speaking, we often have a tendency to finish their sentences for them if we think we know where they are going. It is our ego’s way of letting them know that we are smart. Most people don’t appreciate having another person finish their sentences. Resist the urge to cut people off and allow them to finish articulating their thoughts. In the end, it makes for a more enjoyable conversation.

The power of repetition

A study found that high school students forget 95% of what they learn after three days. The best tool you have to overcome forgetfulness is repetition. When you think about many of the things you’ve learned in life, including multiplication tables, spelling words, or historical information, that retention has come through repetition. The more you hear things, the higher the probability that you will remember them. When someone is speaking about a topic with which you are familiar, rather than assuming you know about it and tuning them out, just listen. You could learn something new or reinforce something you already know. The simple repetition of hearing it again helps with retention.

Everyone loves a good listener

If you want to become known as a good listener, focus on their favorite topic—themselves. The more you allow them to talk about themselves, the more they enjoy your company. Secondly, understand that when you are talking, the person you are talking to is waiting for their opportunity to speak. No matter how great your story may be, they have a better one that happened to them (at least in their mind). What if you were to end the competition by allowing them to talk without you having any compulsion to tell your own story? You could truly listen and become fully absorbed in their story. You would no longer have to focus on what you plan to say next so you could be more present.

Listening is the foundation to successful collaboration

In business and in life, effective collaboration is a critical component to success. If you are unable to work with other people toward a common goal, you severely limit your ability to get ahead in life. Collaboration begins with listening. A successful project usually requires the input from multiple people. Listening to others, disseminating their ideas, and driving the best possible outcome are the keys to successful collaboration.

Have an open mind

Our biases affect our ability to listen effectively. Assume you are opposed to a particular political candidate that raises an effective idea on how to help combat homelessness. There is a good chance that you will either not acknowledge the thought, or that you will dismiss it simply because you have a distaste for the messenger. If instead you chose to remove judgment and have an open mind, you might actually listen and acknowledge the idea.

We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. Perhaps we could all benefit more if we could listen more and talk less.

Posted by Joel Brookman in listen, Make people like you, Uncategorized and tagged , .


Join the discussion by commenting below!