Great leaders listen more than they speak and this is a small consideration of listening more and speaking less in conversations.

Listening. Why is this so important?

You have two ears and one mouth — use them in proportion.

It’s so important, at least in my mind, because it can be successfully applied to almost every aspect of our lives. If you run a business, listening to your customers is paramount. If you are in government, listening to the populous increases your understanding before legislating or creating new policy. If you are a client-servicing business, listening to your clients and understanding their concerns and problems before providing advice is critical.

I am by no means suggesting that you merely listen and then take no action — indeed the quote when my grandfather says it to me — by no means directs this. Rather, it suggests that you should do more listening before you talk.

Don’t interrupt. Don’t put someone on hold. Don’t interject. Don’t talk over the top of them. Listen to people — then talk.

I am actively trying to achieve this daily as I really think it’s a positive step in the right direction for listening more about what people have to say — and then responding with relevant arguments. Many people I have discussions with tend to try and talk over the top of me and this is ultimately extremely frustrating. It’s a little like ‘hey you’ve had your turn, now it’s mine’. Of course, the better way to approach this is not to take such a view but rather simply take heed of this quote and listen more.

Since I’ve been doing this — the counter arguments are often more effective as I have listened intently to what someone is saying rather than forming thought patterns in my head — ready to hit back at a singular particular point or two points. By waiting and listening you are able to draw upon the whole argument — and most importantly, you are able to listen and feel like an engaging person in doing so. This helps the person you are talking to feel like they are contributing to the conversation and having their chance at speaking — rather than being cut off all the time.

People love listeners — they don’t love talkers.