A couple of years ago I had the honor of being a groomsman in one of my best friend’s wedding. Something I saw at that wedding venue has stuck with me over the years.
On the day of the wedding, the groomsmen arrived at the venue a few hours early to get ready. It only took us about 15 minutes, so we had quite a bit of time to hang out before the wedding ceremony began.
I took some time to explore the venue; the walls were full of unique pictures and artwork. But, there was one picture that stood out to me.
The picture said, “Even a fish wouldn’t get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut.” As I read words displayed in this picture, I immediately recall a bible verse that I often quote.
“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” – Proverbs 17:28
This verse reinforces the powerful principle found within this picture. The bible mentions the importance of listening many times. There is a huge advantage to being the person listening instead of being the one doing all the talking; or being the person who is waiting for their turn to speak.
This is a very important principle that many people do not follow. If we better understood the importance of listening, we would have a greater impact on people.
Listen more. Talk less.
There is a great businessman named Herb Cohen. He is often referred to as the world’s greatest negotiator. Has written many books on the topic of negotiation. One of Herb’s main trends that you’ll find throughout his publications is listening.
When I first learned about Herb and his achievements, I found it strange that he puts such weight on the importance/value of listening.
He’s a great negotiator which implies that he speaks frequently and effectively, right?
Wrong. In fact, in Herb’s popular book, New Perspectives on Negotiating: Winning the Negotiating Game, he speaks of a skill he calls listening aggressively.
Here’s how Herb defines listening aggressively. He learns a lot about someone by listening to them with no agenda other than hearing them from the heart. Through aggressively listening, Herb can come up with a negotiation strategy. He based the negotiation around what the other person shared. As a result, his negotiations have often ended in win/win situations.
Now that’s a powerful concept!
I want to share one more example on this topic of listening before moving on.
I recently watched a TEDTalk titled The best way to help is often just to listen. In the video, Sophie Andrews talks about how offering someone your undivided attention often helps them more than anything you would say to them. This video is 15 minutes, but it really has a strong message and is worth watching/listening to.
The three examples mentioned each reinforce my point in this post. Listening is more important than many of us realize. Our lifestyle has been affected by it. Our current professional/personal status is the result of our ability to listen.
3 positive benefits of listening that we’re missing out on:
#1. We’re missing out on potentially learning from another individual’s wisdom or advise.
I’m a firm believer that you can learn something from anyone. Everyone’s life perspective is different as their experience has been different. When in conversation with people, many people want to do the talking. Even when the other person is speaking, we are waiting for them to pause so we can continue talking. By learning to listen without agenda of response, you open your mind to learn from the other person.
#2. We’re missing out on impacting/helping other people.
All professional counselors will tell you the same thing, their job is 90% listening. By learning to listen to people aggressively we have a greater impact on their lives. Do you want to live a more fulfilled life? Start helping people through lending a listening ear! You’ll be amazing the doors it opens in your life.
#3. Most importantly, we’re missing out on hearing what God has to say to us.
Ready for the big point that’s going to change your life? Many of us do all the talking in our prayer life. We need to learn to shut up when praying. Hear me out before you get offended. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with talking to God, in fact, it is a good thing. My point is that God is the creator of all things. He knows everything. We should be allowing Him to talk more than we talk. When was the last time you sat quietly and listened for God’s voice?
Related Post: 3 Key Ways to Hear God’s Voice [Video]
If you want to experience positive change in your life through listening, you must learn and apply this concept in your relationship with God. As you learn to listen to God, do the same with people around you. Listening has positive changes in store for your future and the future of those around you. Start aggressively listening today!