I’ve always thought of myself as being a pretty good listener. People that have been in sales-oriented careers like me know it’s obvious that being a good listener is a crucial skill. Despite that, I know that I could be even better and the same could be said for most people. I’ve been trying a new approach for me which I believe is really helping my listening skills. I’ll let you in on a little secret – it’s only four words. Shut the **** up.
Crude yes, but yet also equally effective. I keep in mind that when someone is telling me something I should resist all temptation to wait for them to take a breath and then say what I was thinking. We’ve all heard that before. It doesn’t mean I don’t show them non-verbal signs that I am listening and understanding what they are saying. I will nod, or shake my head, but just letting them continue without simply saying something in response to fill empty space (the perceived empty conversation space is always much longer than the actual empty conversation space BTW).
What is resulting is that in shutting up I am hearing more and by saying less when I do say something it (hopefully) has more impact and is more relevant since I’ve taken the time to really consider what I am hearing. Before you dismiss this as being obvious ask yourself when was the last time you actually stopped yourself from replying automatically and just didn’t say anything? If the answer is you can’t remember then you should think long and hard about whether or not you are being as good a listener as you think you are.
If I accomplish only one major goal this year, it would fine with me to achieve truly being a better listener. That would be something that would benefit me and everybody I come into contact with for the rest of my life.
Shut the **** up. Are you able to do that? Try it out and you might find you learn much more and are thought of as being wiser than you really are.