One of the most common misconceptions about leadership is that you need to be a great speaker. While many of the world’s most influential leaders can command a crowd with their words, it’s what they do with their ears that truly inspires.
The art of listening has been lost in a world of endless tweets, status updates and blogs (cough cough). Much like a drunken party, our society continues to turn up the volume so that we can each have our turn to speak. And this is why being a great listener is such a powerful trait. Everyone wants to be heard, and we flock to the individuals that are willing to listen.
In Bob Burg’s book Endless Referrals, he claims you can have an entire conversation with a stranger without divulging any information about yourself, and still make it memorable. This is accomplished simply by asking the other person a stream of meaningful questions and engaging in their responses as an active listener. I’ve tried this approach myself at many networking events, and soon found myself surrounded by a crowd of eager speakers itching to be heard.
Challenge yourself today to become a more perceptive listener. Ask others how they are doing, what they are feeling, and if they have any ideas they want to share. Open your ears up to others often, and see what kind of impact it makes on your day.
I’m sure you’ll find being a great listener will get you much farther than being a constant broadcaster.
Have you had success letting others do the talking? Share your stories below, I’d love to listen to them!