Sounds simple. Listening is something we all know how to do. We’ve been capable of doing it sense we were in the womb supposedly, but somewhere along the way, many of us make the mistake of speaking more often than we listen. Recently, I was watching OWN’s Master Class with Simon Cowell, and while I’ve heard it said before, one of his lessons served as a great reminder that I know I could certainly continue to learn from – listen 90% of the time and speak 10%. Because as Mark Twain brings to our attention, “It’s better to stay silent and look a fool, rather than speak and remove all doubt.”
While Twain’s words may be harsh, I think there is some truth to be found in what he is saying. A wise person knows when to listen, even when they may have something very valuable to add. Based on their audience and importance of the situation, such a person can determine whether or not they should speak up. I tend to believe that those who are confident in their abilities don’t feel the need to brag about themselves because they know their actions will speak volumes. It is only in times when sound reasoning is needed that a respectable and wise voice needs to be heard, and someone who tends to listen, gains knowledge and be privy to what such a situation looks like because they’ve allowed themselves to take so much information in, will know when it is the right time to let their voice be heard.
So what are the benefits to listening and how can we become better listeners? Today I’ll tackle the latter, and I hope to convince demonstrate that there is great value in opening our ears because it truly opens our world to beautiful possibilities.
By allowing others to speak, whether they be in our family, our place of business or simply an opportunity to work with others, more ideas are thrown out on the table so that hopefully the right idea will be noticed and put into action. If only one voice is allowed to speak, the creative process can’t occur. Because when we are working with others, we will all see things slightly different, but that is a good thing. By bringing all of our ideas together, letting everyone speak and listening to what each person has to say, we might be surprised to know that everyone has more in common than was at first thought, and more importantly, a more successful plan to attack the problem or task at hand is created.