“Oooh! I have a funny story about what happened to me last summer in California!”
“No wait – I have a funny California story too! Can I go first? It’s really short!”
“No no, wait – We have to finish my story!”
Is listening a dying art? How many times have you been in a fast paced conversation, not getting your chance to speak? Your conversation probably dies down with… “Wait, what were we originally talking about?”
One of my favorite memories with my Grandfather was just two summers ago when we had gone out to dinner together. As I talked about my ambitions beyond high school and my favorite movies, he had listened and offered insight. Since I was so frustrated about not having a say in daily conversations, I asked him how he was so great at listening and being patient with others. Every time I’d wanted to talk to my friends about the future, they listened, but really wanted to talk about themselves. My Grandfather told me that some people were really only waiting for their turn to speak. After that talk we had, I became more intent on listening to others, really listening to others – not just planning out my response to what they were saying.
Why is listening that important, anyway? I’ve often found in conversations with larger groups of people, someone’s opinion is always getting left out. We’ve all been that person; frustrated they don’t get any say. Not listening eradicates effective communication. We would save so much time if only we had known THAT was what the boss wanted! Not listening makes you miss out on new learning opportunities. Not listening to others is the same thing as not giving others your respect. Listening shows others that you respect and value their opinion, and in turn, you will attract more people.
It’s annoying being that person that never gets to speak. Just by making a conscious effort to really listen to others, you will save time, learn, and even attract more people into your life.