I came to know about this skill when I began my career in sales, and since I had no prior experience I was suggested to read this book called ‘The psychology of selling’ by Brian Tracy.
One key idea in the book caught my attention — ‘Listening to customers builds trust’.
Listening to clients made me empathise with them, understand their problems and requirements better, as a result, I was able to give them better solutions. This made me better off with work.
But I didn’t stop this with clients, I decided to listen to everyone — friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances and even strangers. Ever since this one skill called ‘listening’ changed my social life.
Wait, doesn’t everyone listen? why do we have to learn it, when we’ve been doing that throughout our life? Yes, we do listen but how often do we genuinely listen to someone?
Whenever we listen to someone talk, we:
- Judge them with what they say
- Constantly think and rehearse how to respond
- Cut in, in the middle
- (Worst of all) — Don’t even listen and think about something else
When we do any or all of these, we don’t really listen to what they say rather we only hear what we want to hear. We envision what is being said, in a way we want to as opposed to what is actually being said. As a consequence, we don’t fully comprehend what the speaker says.
We sometimes do this even to our loved ones, in fact, the reason for most of the relationship problems is because of ‘not genuinely listening to our partners’.
Listening has a profound impact on our social lives, here’s how:
People like listeners
People have a lot of ideas, suggestions, opinions, problems, frustrations, the list goes on. They want someone to share all these, and here’s the challenge — Listening is hard and is the reason why there aren’t many listeners.
People don’t want to listen rather they want to be listened to while they talk. Due to this fact — listeners are in demand.
There is one person who everyone likes to talk about — ‘Themselves’. When you genuinely listen to them about them, they would want to talk to you more — you will then become ‘likeable’.
People trust listeners
When you listen to someone genuinely, without any interruptions — they will feel good that they’ve been heard. They will have a feeling that you’ve given importance to them, and people naturally trust the ones who give importance to them.
People don’t open up to everyone until they trust them, and trust is not easily earned. They have this ‘mental block’ preventing them to open up.
But listening can help here. It’ll make them trust you and will clear off the mental block, making them open up. Personally, I’ve seen this transform my relationship with people, and perhaps will transform yours too.
Putting yourself in their shoes
By ‘putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes’ we mean — how it feels to be the other person. A crucial step towards ‘feeling’ the other person is to listen to them.
Genuinely listening to someone opens the door to their mind, giving insights into their thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs, and values — All these will give you an idea of how they see the world.
This way we empathize with them and talk in terms of their interests. People like us when we do so hence improves the relationship with that person (be it personal or professional).
When you’re listening often to someone (especially with loved ones) you’ll not only understand what the other person says or feels — you’ll even start realizing how it is to be that person themselves! Thereby deepening your relationship.
Listening has improved my life positively in many ways — it earned me good friends, a good professional network and has profoundly changed the way I deal with people. And with deliberate practice, listening will change your life too!
- Listeners are in demand. People love when someone listens to their stories.
- Genuine listening helps the listener to empathise with the speaker thereby deepening the relationship.
- People trust listeners. It gives them a feeling of importance and makes them open up.