What I want to talk to you about today is really important if you want to grow in your career. This one thing actually has the potential to position you for either massive advancement or huge problems, depending on whether or not you master this skill. (So I would highly recommend applying the principles I’m about to share with you.)
It’s safe to say that most people would call themselves good listeners. Most people think they have mastered the art of listening. But I have to tell you – that’s just not true. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that most people completely miss the mark when it comes to truly listening.
No matter who a person is or what their personality type is, every single human being on this earth wants to be heard. Nothing makes someone feel more honored and validated than being heard.
You’re probably saying, “Okay Andrew, that’s great. But what does that have to do with my career?” Are you kidding? it has EVERYTHING to do with your career! It has everything to do with your personal and professional relationships. It has everything to do with your family, your finances, your business, your LIFE!
See, true leadership requires you to become genuinely interested in other people. It’s not about just being ‘nice’ to people so you can get what you want out of them. (That’s manipulation, and that will never lead to success.) It’s about truly honoring people.
Think about that conversation you had with your spouse this morning, or your best friend, or even your colleague or boss. As they were talking, were you thinking about what your next statement would be? Were you thinking about what you have to do later today? If there was anything else running through your head as you were listening, you were not truly listening! You were not honoring that person.
We are ALL guilty of this. We have become such a multitasking society that we even multitask in our thinking! As we are “listening” to someone else talk, we are thinking about what we’re going to say next, the 15 things on our to-do list for the day, and what we’re going to cook for dinner tonight – simultaneously!
This happens all the time, because that’s what our culture has conditioned us to do. It’s not your fault. HOWEVER, now that you are aware of this widespread problem, it’s up to you to correct it.
Think about how many times you have been in a conversation with someone, and they said something and you heard them, but you actually have no idea what they just said. How many times have you said, “Huh?” because you missed what they said (maybe even multiple times)? How many times have you walked away from a conversation, and completely forgot what was just agreed upon?
I know sometimes it may seem like a lot of work to give someone your undivided attention. The truth is, it is more work to NOT listen. When you don’t listen, you actually create problems. And it takes more energy and time to solve those problems.
Picture this: You are having a conversation with your boss. He gives you a list of items he would like you to prepare for a meeting at 2:00 this afternoon, as well as a list of people he needs you to follow up with before then. As he is giving you the list, you are formulating a plan for how you will accomplish these things before your 2:00 meeting. As soon as the conversation is over, you walk back to your desk to get started. You make it halfway through your task list, but you can’t, for the life of you, remember the last few items.
Do you see what I mean? Because you jumped ahead and began thinking about how you were going to accomplish the things on the list instead of simply listening to what your boss was saying, you created a problem that must now be solved. You now have to go back to your boss and ask him to repeat himself. This is a waste of your time and his, which creates frustration and shows that you are not trustworthy or dependable. This significantly lowers your value.
It also destroys your opportunity for promotion in your business or career. If there were opportunities for promotion in your company, would you know it? (Newsflash: There are ALWAYS opportunities for promotion!) Are you listening for the needs around your office? Do you catch the offhand remarks from your boss, who is stressed because a certain task is continuously dropped? Hello! That is your chance to fill a need, which makes you extremely valuable. If you do not have your ears tuned to hear the needs that are expressed every day in your workplace, you are missing opportunities!
So today, focus on truly listening to other people. When others are speaking, give them your undivided attention. Clear your mind and really focus on what they are saying. Resist the urge to chime in and give your opinion. You will be amazed by how much more you will hear! And you will begin to see more opportunities, more promotion, and more harmony in your business, career, and relationships.
Listening is obviously not a skill we pick up naturally. It is one we must practice in order to master it. But can you imagine if you learned this skill as a child? Can you imagine if everyone in your school, office, or family knew this skill? Wow! What a different culture this would be!
Let’s do what we can today to help our family, friends, and colleagues become a culture of honor. Simply print this letter out and pass it around at work today, and read and discuss it with your family. You can also forward this email, and post this link on Facebook and Twitter! I would also really love to get your feedback on today’s Daily Thought. Please leave me your comments here!
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