“Man is, by nature, a political animal”.
This is what Aristotle said quite a long time ago.
The great philosopher just wanted to emphasize the importance of relationships among human beings to achieve fulfillment in life.
In relationships, listening is vital because all of us want to be listened to, but we are always trying to speak without stopping.
This contradictory behavior was perfectly captured by Hemingway, who stated:
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
― Ernest Hemingway
It’s a logical conclusion to listen to because, as Diogenes said,
“We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.”
From my perspective, listening is the best tool to engage with people because we are showing respect and interest in what the other person is trying to communicate with us.
Just think about how you feel when you are talking and the other person:
- Listens carefully,
- staring at you,
- forgetting about all the surroundings (cell phone included),
- focusing on your message.
That’s what others feel when you act the same way.
Here I will share some of the benefits you can get just by listening to people, both in your personal and professional life.
Listening to your clients
When listening to your clients:
- You will better understand their needs, their problems, their situation, why they need your help, and how you can help them.
- You will have new business opportunities because a client will always need more products and services.
- You will better manage your mistakes (we all have mistakes) because fluid communication facilitates understanding.
- They will feel more comfortable because everybody needs to be heard, and they do appreciate it.
Listening to your co-workers
When listening to your co-workers:
- You will work on empathy, a key value in human relations.
- You will learn a lot about the company and about other issues people have.
- You’ll be able to ask for help because people will want to help you.
Listening to your friends
When listening to your friends:
- You’ll be able to help them because you’ll know their problems, and helping friends is one of the most fulfilling feelings.
- You’ll enjoy a more in-depth relationship because you will know them better.
Listening to your partner
When listening to your partner:
- You’ll consolidate your relationship, creating a strong foundation based on trust and dialogue.
- You’ll better solve your problems because all the information will always be on the table.
- You’ll start to understand how he/she thinks, what his/her thoughts are, why his/her behavior is always based on common sense.
- Listening equals respect. Respect is, from my point of view, the key factor in any relationship.
Listening to your children
Here I will extend a little more because I’d like to share a recent experience with you.
Last night I had the most extended conversation with my son.
He’s 15 and, as many parents will know, this is “the monosyllable generation”.
SMSs, Whatsapp, and digital relationships have made talking a bizarre skill.
But that’s the game, as parents, we have to play.
Our conversation lasted one hour and a half (I congratulate any parent who has been able to hold a more extended conversation and, please, do not hesitate to send it to the Guinness World Record), and it was really enriching for both of us.
Those are the situations in which parenting really makes sense.
It’s when you see and perceive you’re useful to your son. When all pieces perfectly fit together.
How did I reach this record?
You may guess it: just listening.
Make the right questions, let the other think and express his thoughts, what he believes, how he feels.
Listen, listen, and listen.
You cannot imagine how much you can get in life just by doing it.
I think these 2 quotes summarize everything perfectly:
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
― Stephen R. Covey
“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.”
― Doug Larson