Think back to a moment when you were talking to someone who was really listening. You knew this person wasn’t just half listening. You knew he/she wasn’t thinking of something else when listening to you. You had the feeling that his/her total focus and concentration was squarley on the words coming out of your mouth. You just knew that he/she was listening 100%.
What did you do in that situation?
Did you not release a torrent of information? Were you not excited at this rare opportunity to talk with someone who was truly listening? Did you not open the floodgates of your knowledge to this person? Were you not flattered that this person was giving his/her total undivided attention to you? Did you not feel closer to this person afterwards? Did you not feel compelled to give this person more information in the future?
Absolutely. I’ve been in this situation before and each and every time I unloaded torrents of information (which is very rare for me as I tend to listen more than I talk) was when, and only when, I knew the other person was listening 100%. I’ve also been on the other side as well, listening intently to the people around me, and their answers to the questions in previous paragraph were all yes as well. How do I know? Because they told me afterwards.
Listening effectively is one of the few skills out there that reap huge returns, IF and only if, one takes the time to invest in learning how to do it.
“To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.” – Igor Stravinsky
So how can we become great listeners?