Simon Sinek once said: “There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.” This quote certainly holds a lot of truth. The fact is that although many people don’t interrupt others when they speak and might even nod their heads along, they don’t thoroughly listen to what the other person is telling them.
Sadly, these people might have missed lots of opportunities for self-development since listening is one of the best ways to gain new ideas and perspectives in life. Many people are so concerned about speaking their own opinion and mastering the art of speaking that they forget that learning how to listen is equally essential. Additionally, they might be leaving not the greatest impression with the speaker since listening is one of the basic ways of showing your respect. It used to be considered that interrupting when someone is talking is rude and inappropriate behavior. Unfortunately, the trend has seemed to take a wrong turn, and you see more and more loud, aggressive and interruptive behavior being modeled whether in real life or on television, such as talk shows. It leads to shallow and less informative discussions with fewer results. Therefore, it is just as essential to practice your listening skills as it is to practice speaking.
Forbes magazine suggests that one of the most effective ways for fully engaging in a conversation and understanding what you are hearing is visualizing what you are listening to. According to the article “10 Steps to Effective Listening,” you should: “Allow your mind to create a mental model of the information being communicated. Whether a literal picture or an arrangement of abstract concepts, your brain will do the necessary work if you stay focused, with senses fully alert. When listening for long stretches, concentrate on, and remember, keywords and phrases. When it’s your turn to listen, don’t spend the time planning what to say next. You can’t rehearse and listen at the same time. Think only about what the other person is saying. Finally, concentrate on what is being said, even if it bores you. If your thoughts start to wander, immediately force yourself to refocus.”
Therefore, the next time you feel like you can no longer wait to speak your opinion, try to remember that thoroughly listening to the other person is beneficial for everyone involved in the conversation, and in the first place for you.
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