Be Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak


One of the reasons I believe I am a good conversationalist is the fact that I listen more than I talk. It’s not that I don’t have anything interesting to say about myself because I do, you don’t want to dare me. What I have learnt is that people like talking about themselves, their families, their jobs, their accomplishments, their spouses, their travels, their school and anything that concerns them. People really don’t want to hear about you, it doesn’t concern them, they want you to listen to them talk about themselves most times.
Have you ever wondered why marriage counselors or psychologists make so much money abroad? They listen. When a couple comes in for a session, all they do is talk, talk and talk. They talk about what the other half is doing to annoy them, how the other person is not sensitive to their feelings, how the other person is this and that. A counselling session is mostly an avenue to let off steam and complain about their spouse. All the counselor does for 85% of the allotted time is to listen, listen and listen.
People love it when you listen to them. I mean exclusive undivided attention to the person who is speaking to you.
For example, I am having a conversation with a friend called Jasmine, this is how the conversation will go:
Me: Sup Jasmine, what have you being up to?
Jasmine: I travelled to London for the holidays.
Me: Wow, London? The land of coffee and biscuits, how was the experience, gist me please (remember, I have been to London before but I want to make her feel special so I don’t bring up my trip to London yet until she tells me how her experience went)
Jasmine: (she speaks for 10 minutes about the places she visited in London, while I listen)
Me: Hope you visited the Buckingham Palace?
Jasmine: Yes I did
Me: Tell me about it na, did you meet the
Jasmine: (she keeps talking for another 10 minutes)
Me: Wow, what an experience you had. So where else did you visit in London?
Jasmine: (she keeps talking for another 10 minutes).
At the end of the conversation, she spoke for about 30 minutes while all I did was ask her questions to keep her talking. At the end of the day, Jasmine thinks I am a good conversationalist when in reality I had been merely a good listener and had encouraged her to talk.
People ask me why I have so many female friends and why ladies love talking to me. It’s simple. I love listening to them talk, it’s quite fascinating. Don’t get it twisted, ladies love talking but the problem men have with women is that they think when women come to discuss something with them that they (the women) want their advice. No, they just want listening ears. You will make more friends when you listen more than you talk. You will learn more also when you listen than you talk.
Nothing else is so flattering as when you are speaking with someone that is listening so attentively to you. They sit so erect with their eyes fixed on you with so much concentration that they don’t notice their phone ringing. Many people fail to make a favorable impression because they don’t listen attentively. They have been so much concerned with what they are going to say next that they do not keep their ears open.
Have you wondered why important people grant interviews? They want to talk about themselves. The ability to listen seems rarer than almost any other good trait .
Be a good conversationalist by being a good listener.

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

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