The Fine Art of Listening (and Asking Questions)
Why is it so hard to get people who are supposed to be taking in facts, sorting them out, and returning useful information, to listen? There are any number of reasons ranging from lack of proper training to thinking they know more about the issue than the person explaining it to them, to bad attitude, to burnout, to over inflated ego, to daydreaming, to pretending to understand when they really don’t. You name it and you’ll probably be right.
Two Ears, One Mouth
Humans and most animals are endowed with two ears and only one mouth. Although some people can talk out of both sides of their mouths at the same time, the proper ratio for salespeople, negotiators and most others in business or the professions is 2-1 – listening twice as much as we speak. It only makes sense; if we listen more and talk less we can take in valuable information that we can use to get the other party to do what we need. If we’re too busy trying to get our points across instead of listening to theirs we will miss the clues that could give us the outcome we want.