To be liked, learn control. Learn how to listen. Exercise these simple tips, such as "don't talk about yourself."
- Listening is a key skill when you are working with other people, and it is really underrated. We get taught how to talk and how to write but not how to listen. It's just assumed that we all have this skill. But actually, it is really hard to do mainly because we can think faster than people talk. So while they are talking, we have some spare brain capacity left over which we use to evaluate what the other person is saying. Before long, we're off thinking about whether we agree with them, why they are wrong, what they should be saying instead and then suddenly, we realize that we have missed a whole lot of what they have been saying.
It requires a positive effort to just sit there and listen without judging, predicting and planning a reply half way through their sentence. But if you can become a good listener, it will bring you three significant benefits. First, you will be like more by other people. If you listen to them, it makes them feel important and valued by you so they will be more inclined to like you. Talking about yourself just gives the impression, probably true, that you think you are more important than them, which is not a good start.
So we all like people who allow us to have a conversation about our favorite subject, which is ourselves. That is the first benefit of being a good listener. The second benefit is that you learn more by being a listener. It is obvious when you think about it, that when you're talking about yourself, let us say you are talking about the holiday you've just been on or how well your kids are doing at school, you are not learning anything about yourself at all. You are wasting your time, you are boring the other person, and you are making them more likely to dislike you.
They don't want to hear about how great your kids are and how fantastic your holiday was, so do not tell them about your successes and don't tell them about your problems either. Someone told me that if you tell people about your problems, 70 percent of people do not care, and the other 30 percent are glad. So if you're not going to talk about your successes or your problems, what does that leave you to talk about? The other person, of course. That is a much better plan. They will enjoy the conversation and like you because of it, and you will learn some useful information.
That holiday that they've been on, whether it was great or a disaster, might be useful for you to know about. The third and final benefit of being a good listener is a little bit surprising and it's the fact that you control the conversation, not them. You might think that the person doing the talking is the one in control but actually, it is the one asking the questions and listening who steers the conversation with the occasional little question like, "And then what happened?" or, "Tell me a bit more about that first part," or "So what will you do differently next time?" So those are three significant benefits you can get by being a great listener to the others in your team.
Be liked, learn and have control. So here's a fun exercise for you to do this evening when you are out with your friends. Make it a game to not talk about yourself at all. Just ask them questions and listen and in the unlikely event that they ask you a question, just turn it back on them. For example, if they say, "So how are the kids?" you could just reply, "They're fine, but tell me, "How's little Tony, is he out of prison yet?" You will find this exercise amazing.
It is so easy, and the other people love talking about themselves and you will learn loads as well. Try it.
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- Getting the job done
- Dividing up the work
- Cultivating communication
- Handling conflict
- Delivering reliably
- Playing more than one role
- Using your strengths and dealing with your weaknesses