Here is a tip that can and will change your life by improving your communication skills. When we think about communication, we probably think about what we're going to say to others. We might think that there is some magic formula out there that will teach us what to say and how to say it and we will have people eating out of our hands. Sorry, but the opposite of this is much closer to the truth.
It's no secret that human beings are a social bunch by nature and we tend to want to be popular and desirable by our peers. Issues of self-esteem and self-confidence are influenced by how we believe others are judging us, both positively and negatively.
Being accepted, appreciated and wanted by others can be a good indicator of how well you communicate with others. Developing people skills is mandatory for all types of human interaction if we are interested in creating happy and healthy relationships with our friends, family, business associates and others.
Some of us are naturally talented in this area, whereas some of us have to develop these skills.
Thankfully, there have been many brilliant people throughout history who have figured out what we need to do to be successful with people. Dale Carnegie, who wrote "How to Win Friends and Influence People," was one of them.
Stephen Covey, author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People," is another. They and others share a common suggestion for us that will help us in this area of life. That suggestion is to not develop our speaking abilities but to develop our listening skills. Fortunately for us this idea is simple to understand, but unfortunately not easy for us to implement. I will try and explain why.
Let's face it; we all want what we want when we want it. That's true for me and I bet it's true for you and everyone else in the world. One of the greatest wants and longings for the majority of human beings is to be listened to and validated by another. People want to be understood, not to understand.
Being understood by another is so special and it rarely happens because everyone is so concerned with expressing themselves and probably don't really care about what another has to say in return.
In a nutshell, we are all egocentric by nature which makes it difficult for us to give up our own concerns for even a moment in order to connect with another.
When everyone wants to be listened to and be understood, there is a glaring malfunction in our communications. Nobody is listening. Everyone is trying to get their points across and be heard while pretending to listen to their counterpart, all the while just waiting for the opportunity to express their next thought. Whatever the other says to you just stimulates a response from you about you and your life experiences.
Does this ring true for you? Is there a solution to this quandary? Here is where one can get a leg up on everyone else with this 'being understood' competition that is so prevalent. We can become the one who listens, asks engaging questions, and is interested in learning about another.
We can clearly set ourselves apart from the masses with this one simple act. It starts with an intention of developing this skill. If you can grasp the profoundness of this simple idea, you will want to start as soon as possible. It won't cost you a penny and can earn you a fortune!
Where do we begin this art of listening? We begin by being interested, not interesting. I learned this long ago from one of my mentors — sales giant, author and motivational speaker, Walter Hailey.
At one of his book camp seminars he would make us stand up and shout, "I will be interested! Not interesting!" He felt that salespeople in any field must own this concept in order to become successful.
There are many wonderful benefits that will result from being a great listener. They can have a profound and positive effect on our lives:
Relationships will be enhanced as others will be drawn to you.
You can learn much from others by active listening and asking probing questions about the person.
You can avoid many conflicts by knowing who you are talking to by listening to their viewpoints first.
You can control the conversation by asking the questions that lead others to speak about the subject you want to talk about.
People always like to talk about themselves and will like you and be grateful for allowing them to do so.
When you really are interested in the other person, others will ultimately be interested in you. (Which is what we wanted all along.)
Your listening skills will increase your value in the business world.
Listening is a gift that keeps on giving to the listener. The answer to most all of our desires in life can be found when we start listening before we start talking about ourselves. Nobody is listening to us anyway.