Why You Should Spend Less Time Talking

It’s often been said people won’t care what you have to say until they know how much you care. While a short quote, this little statement speaks volumes to the power of feeling cared for.

I believe one of the best ways we can show others we care is by talking less.

Is it time to shut your mouth?

Image by David Geohring

But how can this be? Can we really show others we care when we zip our lips?

In a recent Success Magazine article, Adam Sher, CEO of Ryan Seacrest Productions, said this about Ryan:

Ryan listens to what people are saying and has an uncanny ability to understand where they’re coming from and what they really want. In meetings, he spends much more time listening and taking notes than he does talking.

From the same article, Larry King says this about Seacrest:

Ryan is a wonderful interviewer. He knows how to listen. He doesn’t interject himself; he knows that the show and the guest are more important than him…

When we break this down and look at these statements, we can see Seacrest has been able to show others he cares by talking less. When he’s able to shut his mouth and listen, he’s able to understand the issues those around him are facing.

He’s also able to see issues where others may overlook them. This is because he’s acutely aware to what’s being said rather than thinking of the next words to come out of his mouth.

I think this is a principle we need to begin applying to our leadership. We need to learn to talk less, listen more.

For when we do, we show others that we’re aware of their emotions and are interested in what’s happening in their lives.

Try these 3 tips to more effective listening:

Tip 1: Adopt a 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 rule for talking – When engaged in conversations, try to talk less than the other person. Allow them to talk two or three times more often than you’re talking.

They’re share aspects of their life you would never have heard if you were trying to get the next word in.

Remember, people love to be heard. Being heard makes them feel special. Make them feel special by listening.

Tip 2: Ask interesting questions – Sometimes it’s hard for us to keep quiet while the other person is talking. But it’s crucial to allowing them to speak while you listen. This is why asking interesting questions will help you talk less.

Ask probing questions so the other person is able to share their life experiences or great adventures. Ask questions that are interesting to that person and yourself.

If you’re hearing an exciting story, you’ll be less likely to pipe in and interrupt.

Tip 3: Paint a picture in your mind – This goes along with tip 2 but it’s separate. When listening, try to paint a picture in your mind of the events being described.

Let the images roll through your mind and associate these images with the words being said. Being able to visualize the spoken word helps you retain what you’ve heard.

Effective listening requires you to put your concerns aside. You must be willing to engage with the person speaking and allow them to say what needs to be said.

In doing so, you can win a person over. You’ll show them they’re valuable and you’re willing to give your time to hear their story.

This is why we need to spend less time talking.

Question: Do you agree or disagree? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. (Don’t worry if you disagree, I’d love to hear another perspective and gain more insight on the subject)

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