Listening - A Crucial Skill for Success

See also: Top Tips for Effective Listening

It's has been proven countless times that the majority of failures in the workplace and in relationships are due to people's inability to listen.

Indeed, listening is an art that many of us, even adults, have yet to master. Most people mistake hearing for listening, but the two are not the same. Hearing is a physical process, but listening is an intellectual act that involves taking that information further, processing it and understanding it.

There are many advantages and benefits to listening.

By listening, you will know exactly what people want instead of second guessing them behind their back. This is by far an easier and better way to find out what people want. In addition, by listening you will broaden your horizon, you will be able to think outside the box and understand many perspectives, be able to see things in a new and different light, and perhaps come up with a better solution.

Listening is the basis of a good communication. By listening, you will be able to understand the hearts and minds of people in the world of business and this is an invaluable skill. Sales is about winning the hearts and minds of customers and what better way is there to understanding this than by listening to them. Successful people, especially leaders, know how important listening is. After all, it is their job to serve their people and, in order to do that, listening and understanding what other people want is the most important task they should be able to do.

Obstacles to Becoming a Good Listener

1. They Think They Know Better

A lot of people think that because they are older, more qualified and have more experience, they are automatically in a position to know more than the other person.

In reality, this may not be the case. There are other people who have diverse experiences with different points of view that may just be as learned as you. Your job is to keep an open mind to the input of others, consider the information and accept it if it is parallel with your reasoning.

As Bruce Lee said, before you can accept new input into your cup, it's essential to empty your cup otherwise it will overflow.

2. Ego

These are also people who know that the other person is right but refuse to change their own opinion just for the sake of being self-righteous.

For these people, they must be right no matter what. These people are only disadvantaging themselves as they will find it hard to move forward if they continuously rely on their own opinions.

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How to Become a Better Listener

1. Caring

Are you surprised?

Yes, caring is the most crucial thing to help you become a better listener. Would you bother to read this article if you are not interested in success?

You are reading this article because you care about success and you want to know more about it. Likewise, before you start listening, you should care about what the other person has to say, believing that he or she has something of value to offer you. Remember, a good listener listens with their ears, while a great listener listens with their heart.

2. Let Go of Assumptions

People have usually already formed their opinions and drawn their assumptions before they even start to listen.

Listen with an empty, clear and objective mind and you will be surprised at how many new things you will hear, things that you had not even realized before and how glad you are to understand things from a new perspective.

The Characteristics of Good Listening

1. Listen with Not Only with Your Head, but Also Your Heart

Listening does not only involve conceptual and logical understanding, but emotional feeling and connection with the speaker - empathy. By doing this, you will understand what's going on inside the heart of the speaker and what he or she is going through. In other words, listening does not only involve understanding but empathizing as well.

2. Listen from a Neutral Mindset

Do not listen with any pre-existing judgement; remove any assumption and bias from your mind.

Do not reject anything that is new or with which you are not comfortable. Instead, analyse the ideas carefully as this is how you will expand your ideas and understanding of different subject matters.

Listening is Both an Art and a Science

There are certain methods and techniques you can apply to be a better listener. You will also get better with practice.

  • Listening is a crucial part to being successful as every idea starts with information and that information comes from listening.

  • Listening is a skill that you can cultivate.

  • Listening is the key to knowing what others want, not what you want; it is the little thing that makes a big difference.

  • Listening is like planning: it pays off and will save you from making a lot of mistakes and can even improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your organisation.

  • By listening, you will be able to hear what other people don't, because the truth is that many people have eyes but don't see and have ears but don't listen. Do not be one of these people.

  • Successful people are good listeners because they understand how input from their environment can be critical, crucial and central to the strategy of their business.

So make sure you take time to be more aware of what's around you. Open your ears and listen your way to success.

Do you have a problem getting things done? Do you wish you were more productive? Have you found yourself working all day only to realize that you have made no or very little progress? If you have been in this situation, you have a productivity problem.

Visit our pages on Personal Development for some practical help and advice.