WAIT. Why Am I Talking?

 In Career, Communication, Leadership, Personal Development, Professional Development, Relationships

Making Change and TRANSITION EASYer on YOURself!
Sharing a weekly Idea and Challenge on change and transition with YOU!

An idea for YOU!

Ever heard the expression,
“we have 2 ears and one mouth”,
Apparently, “so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”
In coaching we are encouraged to listen even more than that.
I have also been spending some time facilitating on the leadership development front these days.
And guess what keeps coming up as a key way of engaging with people on that front?

If you guessed telling people what YOU think that they SHOULD do!
You guessed wrong!
If you guessed listening so that YOU are better positioned to get YOUR point across?
You guessed wrong!
If you guessed listening to understand the ideas and concerns and mindsets of others?
Then you guessed right!
If you guessed listening in order to expand your own lens as to all of the other options and opportunities that are out there?
Then you guessed right!

Maybe I am a little too black and white,
With my rights and wrongs.
The context and situation is important but,
the point I am trying to make here is.
Good listeners give themselves opportunities to understand other people’s viewpoints,
the result of which more often than not, ends up widening their own.
Good listeners learn from the mistakes of others as-well as their own,
which means they learn faster too.
Good listeners,
And, I would add, good leaders.

Some authors and scholars go so far as to suggest that
if there is one communication skill you should aim to master,
then listening is it.
After all, why else would we have 2 ears and only 1 mouth?

Unfortunately for me, I sometimes forget that concept,
And when I do, I suffer the repercussions.
I forgo some great opportunities to learn and grow,
and to engage others.
After all, it is hard to engage someone,
if you do not know them,
If you do not know their situation,
If you do not know what engages them (i.e. what inspires and empowers them).
Hence my motivation to listen more, and talk less.

When I talk too much it is not often not out of malice,
I like to talk and share, especially about topics that I am passionate about.
And stories. I love to tell stories.
My Myers Briggs in ENTP.A, i.e. “The Debater”,
So, I guess I also have a preference for a debate every now and then as well.
I have yet to learn that good debaters are also good listeners.

Sometimes though, especially if I am feeling rushed,
or feelings some other form of stress,
I tend to talk more for less altruistic reasons.
That is when my lens starts to close and the way forward,
Becomes MY WAY forward!
MY WAY or the highway!
Ever work with someone like that?
Not exactly the most engaging of environments.
Hard to play to your strengths and showcase your talents,
When someone is basically TELLING YOU what to do.
Double Yikes!

So, if listening is so important,
And I at times tend to forget about the “2 ears and 1 mouth” thing.
How do I make it EASYer on Myself to do the right thing?
Even when under pressure?

Well what about writing my self a reminder?
and placing it in a place where it is EASYer to notice?
So that is what I have done.
I wrote it down.
On red paper so that it sticks out even more.
And I taped it below my computer screen in my home office.

What does it say?
It simply says “WAIT
Why Am I Talking”. (Why Am I Telling would make nice one as well.)
Good reminder,
If I have nothing essential or really valuable to add,
then I should just listen.
Listen and learn.
Listen and grow.
Grow the size of my lens and the quality of my relationships. 😊

Now, Until listening more and talking less becomes a good habit of mine,
I just need to find some trick for when I am out of the office.
Oh. Well.
In the spirit of making change EASYer on Myself,
One step at a time.

My challenge for YOU!

My challenge for YOU this week is a straight forward one.
Pick one person.
Pick one opportunity to connect with them.
Try and pick it today.
Strike while the iron is hot!

Engage in a conversation with them.
But try and let them do most if not all of the talking.
You do most of the listening.

Listen with your ears, to their words,
but also, to the tone and speed of their voice.
Listen with your ears,
But also, your eyes,
observe them as they speak.
Their movements, their posture, their smile (or lack thereof) etc.

Feel free to throw in a question or two.
But keep your comments to yourself!
Or better yet, forget the comments, just listen.
Just listen and learn.
Improve YOUR RELATIONSHIP with that person!

And remember.
When you feel the urge to say something.
Remember to WAIT before you do. 😊

Try it out just once today.
On one person.
You will be surprised at how truly powerful listening can be.

Enjoy the challenge and,
Here’s to making change, EASYer on YOURSELF!



Coach and Storyteller



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