By Ryan Sauers As I have been giving recent speeches, I have opened my remarks with the following statement. I ask the audience to reflect upon two words that are not that different in appearance, but quite different in meaning. The two words are UNTIE and UNITE. You see, the two words are comprised of the exact same letters. The only change is switching the place of the letter “T” and “I. What does this mean? When “T” is in front of “I” we get the words UNTIE which means things are coming apart or undone. It means …
If you have not been sure about the importance of listening until now… here goes…
It has become apparent to me, now more than ever, in this noisy and rapidly moving world we live in– that the true skills of active listening are so powerful. I argue that they are more important, in many cases, than is speaking. I guess that is why we hear the expression we have "two ears and only one mouth" for a reason.
Think about it…
All human beings (no matter their age, gender, race, nationality etc.) have the desire and need to "truly be heard". In addition, human beings seek to be understood, appreciated and connected to others. Many painful times in our lives have developed from our saying something we did not mean OR when we did not say something we should have. Such situations often cause pain to us and others.
Other missed opportunities for growth occur when we fail to further develop a relationship as we do not get to know another person better. In other words, we have talked to them OR "at them" a lot but have learned little about them– as we have instead focused on our needs, wants and desires.
The people I enjoy the most, in all parts of life, are those who are the best listeners. Why? The reason is simple- these people make me feel important. Don't we all want to feel that way? I cover this topic in great detail in my recently published book Everyone Is in Sales.
So I challenge you like I have challenged myself. Will you work to improve in this area?
I seek to consistently improve my listening skills and challenge you to do the same. Such strong listening skills– will not only make you a better person– but also a better professional, communicator and leader in any endeavor.
What do you think?
Ryan T. Sauers