You must listen to others. Efficiency or intelligence is not the substitute of good listening skills. One of the biggest impact you have on people is simply by granting them a patient hearing. This is most important when you are in the service business or just trying to build a network. The time you spend in hearing people out directly goes into shaping their perception of you – and perception of how you treat them.
When you are dealing with your clients or providing some sort of service, ensure that you patiently listen to what your client is saying. If you are listening to your friends problem or trying to sort out some issue, ensure that you listen to it, ponder over it, before passing your judgment or giving your solution.
Now you will ask why am I repetitively saying that you should take a reasonable amount of time in hearing and thinking over a problem?
Take a simple example, when you go to the doctor to get your treatment and if he just after seeing you write the medicines on a piece of paper and dismiss your case by telling you that you will be fine then chances are high that you will get skeptical about the doctor. You might think that you are so ill and how did this doctor just give some medicines even without seeing you properly, taking less than two minutes!
The diagnosis of doctor might be right, however in almost all probabilities he will not be able to satisfy you because he did not take out time to listen to your trouble.
We as human beings want the time from our relationship, from our friends, family and everyone else we are dealing with. If the person you are talking to does not patiently listen to you, you lose your interest and drift away from that person gradually, even if they are doing their duty competently otherwise.
Everyone requires attention. Ensure that you give enough time and pay adequate attention to whoever you are dealing with. Though you may not need much time in solving a problem, don’t fail to show that solving this problem is important to you and you shall give it due consideration.
There is another counter-intuitive benefit of listening. Listening is a key tool of persuasion. Most people tend to think that they need to speak more in order to persuade. Speaking less and listening more can be a great persuasion technique that only the masters follow.
Listening gives a chance to the person in front of you to speak up whatever they may hold against you at the moment, which may prevent you from persuading them. people often find that persuading strangers is easier than people who are in proximate relationships and know you for a long time. The reason here is simple – those people are holding some past experience against you – and only way for you to get past those thoughts they induluge into about you is to listen to them without any objection, verbal or through body language. This way you get a chance to set aside all such things and then persuade them about a new possibility.
Listening is also an important tool of persuasion because it lets you learn what is important to the other person. Listening gives you the chance to discover the world of another person. Once you have done that, persuasion is only a matter of aligning what you want with their interest. They will see the connection between what is important to them and what you want them to do as you speak in that language. That language is itself a derivative of the right kind of listening. Very powerful persuasion can take place when you do that after discovering the world of the person you are persuading.
It is very important to listen with a blank mind, without an agenda when the act of listening is taking place. It is typical of most human beings to listen with a lot of active thought process in their head. They are not just listening but also thinking what question will the ask next, or what clever thing will they say as soon as the person speaking in front of them takes a pause. Others listen from a resigned and cynical point of view, through filters of their own thoughts and feelings. However, if you can train yourself to listen to others without any thoughts in the background, you will not only hear the words, but also the underlying moods or feelings, even the intent with which people speak.
A listening ability like that can really make a world of difference in interpersonal interactions.