How Listening Will Make You the Strongest Person in the Room by Haim Pekel


There’s an old saying by a guy who founded the scout movement:

“If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talking.” Robert Baden-Powell

Most of the time, most of us are fighting to be heard. Raising our tone doesn’t provide the desired effect; and physically demanding the attention of others is not an option now days. So how can you become the one person in the room that everyone listens to when a lot of voices are trying to be heard simultaneously?

The answer, ironically, is by listening to others…

Listening is the one life skill you can’t learn in school. Only people who understand intimately how communication works pay attention and, even then, only to a point. Past a certain point, everyone wants to be heard and acts accordingly. How does that saying go…in the jungle only the biggest gorillas are heard…

Well, we’re not living in the jungle anymore, are we? And size doesn’t matter when it comes to conversations between people, does it?

So what are the things that do matter?

Difference between hearing and listening

When we hear something, we’re only using one sense out of the five available to us. Listening, on the other hand, requires use of a broader set of senses; working in unison to interpret the meaning of an interaction we’re having.

Our ability to understand interactions by listening depends on:

1. Our alertness level.
2. Our ability to understand the transmitted message due to knowledge or experience.
3. The senses at work, i.e. if we only listen without actually seeing the person, we’re missing a fuller repertoire of non-verbal signals that will help us understand the transmitted message.

According to Wikipedia, the nonverbal senses we activate in interactions are – 83% sight, only 11% hearing, 3% smell, 2% touch and 1% taste.

When someone is telling you that you’ve heard, but you haven’t listened, he knows what he’s talking about! This means that we need to invest a lot to actually listen to someone. The best way to introduce a new behavior type into your communication portfolio is to create a habit out of it, it won’t come naturally.

How to create the habit of listening

Active listening skills can be easy to develop if you focus and make an effort. It’s not rocket science, but it does require a consistent and constant effort to overcome your natural instinct to be heard. Here are a few tips.

1 Not talking

Sounds pretty easy, right? However, this may be the toughest since many of us are busy talking or waiting for the moment to start talking. As I previously mentioned, listening requires focus and using your other senses, this means that you need to close your trap and focus on the person (or people) in front of you and let it all sink.

Read the rest here:

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