7 reasons to talk less and listen more, FEED active listening model
What do you do most? Listen, talk or plan what you are going to say next?
Do you always focus on what the other person is saying and take it in, instead of planning the thing you'll say next?
If you're like most of us, the answer is, not enough. Most people tend to treat conversation like a competitive sport, in which the person who says the most, makes the cleverest point, persuades others of an opinion, or even speaks the longest and loudest is the winner.
All of us fall into this trap. All of us find ourselves interrupting, speechifying, insisting, and coming up with witticisms--all to support our point of view or display our superior knowledge.
However, this approach is the opposite of the one we should take. In most conversations, the person who speaks least benefits most and the person who speaks most, benefits least.
7 reasons to talk less and listen more
1. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
In our information-driven world, how much you know makes more of difference to your long-term success than how much money you have or almost anything else. A person who's talking is giving away information--often more than he or she intended. A person who's listening is receiving information. Who gets the best deal in that exchange?
2. YOU WON'T REVEAL ANYTHING YOU'LL REGRET
If you don't share a piece of information today, you can always share it tomorrow. Conversely, if you do share a piece of information today, you can never take it back again. How many times have you revealed something and then later wished that you hadn't? Or expressed a thought you should have kept to yourself? We've all had these experiences. The less you say, the smaller the chances you'll share information and later wish you hadn't.
3. YOU WON'T SAY ANYTHING DUMB
Abraham Lincoln said,
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt".
We're not suggesting you remain silent all the time. But, it's all too easy to speak thoughtlessly, with insufficient information, or out of a wrong assumption. That can make you look less intelligent than you are, and you will minimise the chances of it happening if you listen more than you speak.
4. YOU WON'T USE UP YOUR MATERIAL
Have you ever tuned in to an interview of your favourite business guru, only to hear them tell the audience a story that you've already read in his or her latest book? It happens all the time, and for a simple reason: most of us have a limited supply of interesting personal anecdotes, experiences, and pearls of wisdom. Inevitably, we wind up using the same ones over and over. Stories feel freshest and have the most impact when someone is hearing them for the first time. By saving yours for the right moment, your story will have the most impact.
5. YOU MAY GAIN INSIDE INFORMATION
At times, there really is power in saying nothing. Many do this by accident. For example, when interviewing someone and they finish answering a question and you’re caught off-guard for a moment before coming up with the next question. Very often, the other person will jump in to fill the silence with further information--sometimes something he or she had not planned to share. You may or may not want to use this tactic on purpose, but it's almost always true that the less you say, the more information the person you're speaking to will share.
6. THE PERSON DOING THE TALKING WILL FEEL UNDERSTOOD AND CARED ABOUT
Most people go through life wishing to be listened to more. So, by listening rather than talking, you are giving something valuable to the person who's speaking. Especially if you really are taking in what that person is saying and not thinking about something else. The speaker will appreciate that gift, and you will have created a bond. He or she will feel understood and validated. It's a powerful relationship-building tool, and an especially powerful sales tool.
7. WHEN YOU DO SPEAK, PEOPLE WILL LISTEN
Who do you listen to more closely, someone who talks excessively, or someone who speaks once in a while? As with anything else, the law of supply and demand holds true: If you constantly share your opinions, no one will seek them out. If you only say what you're thinking on occasion, or only make a point one time instead of over and over, your words are likely to have more weight.
FEED Active Listening Model
The human brain is capable of processing multiple sources of data at once at a subconscious level. When we attempt to do this at a conscious level however, we can struggle. To listen effectively we must focus and that requires concentration. Have you ever been in a conversation, where the person asks you a question for you to realise that you have not heard a word they have said?
We can communicate better if we feel that the person we’re talking to is interested in what we have to say. Be encouraging and enthusiastic when listening to somebody and they will in turn find it easier to get their point across clearly.
The spoken word is easy to misinterpret, so ask questions at appropriate points to clarify meaning and expand on the information being provided.
Apart from the odd question to clarify and encourage more detail, be wary of interrupting too often. You should avoid breaking the flow of the person communicating with you as much as possible.