Communication shapes who we are. It defines our personality and gives us the ability to form relationships both in the work environment and our personal lives.
Often we forget that communication is not a one way street. It’s a balance, a balance between talking and listening, giving and taking. It’s knowing when to tell your story and when to let others take the stage.
Society today is made up of a culture of interruption. It’s a competition of who can get the last say or say the most.
It’s a time where we believe a good communicator is being able to tell your story better than anyone else. While that’s not wrong, some people are better storytellers than others and therefore incredible communicators, there is more to communication than being vocal and making noise.
People who choose not to listen come across as if they already know everything, as if there is nothing more they can learn to better their self. They switch off as soon as they’ve finished their act with little interest in what you have to say.
Listening is Learning
If you aren’t learning you aren’t moving forward. If you aren’t moving forward you’ll quickly be over taken. Even if you’re on the right track it’s just a matter of time before you slip to the back of the pack.
People often believe that learning and development is about reading the latest business review, scrolling through blogs or attending a conference to keep ideas fresh and new. While this is true, not everyone is a business fanatic with this keen proactive outlook.
Listening is learning too, every conversation is an opportunity, an opportunity to discover something new. If we all went into our conversations with the purpose to listen we would come out with so much more to know.
Next time you’re catching up with someone over a drink, talking to family members over the Christmas break, or meeting someone for work, start by listening first and talking second. You’ll be amazed both how difficult it is and also how much more you’ll discover.
Go on, listen up.