Learning to Listen – Discipline

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Listening is a discipline. It isn’t a skill that comes naturally to many of us. Talking is much easier and often much less thoughtful.

Listening is a discipline. Listening takes security. It is difficult for an insecure person to be a good listener because an insecure person is always testing the waters of how others see them and this isn’t easy to gauge as a listener as much as it is a talker.

Listening is a discipline. It requires taking a genuine interest in others and that doesn’t come easily for many of us.

What makes someone a good interviewer? Is it curiosity? Is it that they have a genuine interest in the person they are talking to. A good interviewer has to be interested in the person they are talking with because they have to say just enough of the right things or ask just enough of the right questions to spark the interviewee to say things the audience really wants to know and then get out of the way and listen. They have to listen well enough to what is being said live to integrate into where they think they want the interview to go to make sure they are hearing the person accurately enough to continue to get to the good stuff and not miss something important. They aren’t stuck to their script because they are a good listener.

Good interviewers have to be good listeners. It is a discipline and that is why good interviewers are few and far between because not many of us are: 1) interested enough in other people or 2) good enough at asking the right questions.

I suggest you begin disciplining your mouth and your ears. Begin asking more questions and making less statements. Take time to consider what is being said and try to understand it. If you are an insecure person, the counterintuitive truth is this, the more you learn to listen the more secure you will feel because you will not constantly feel the pressure to prove yourself because you will be so wrapped up in other people that you will forget about yourself for a change.

The world needs more listeners and less talkers. The world needs more people concerned about others more than themselves. The world needs more people who take a genuine interest in others over themselves. So discipline yourself to be a good listener and watch it transform not just yourself but also the people around you. Enjoy the small things you never noticed before because you were too busy filling the airwaves with noise and distraction. You will find the world of listening is wide and open and expansive and liberating. So come on in and bask in it! You will never be the same again.

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