How many of you work with people who love to talk, talk, talk and those who barely make a peep? I certainly have worked with both types, as well as many people who fall somewhere in between. I’ve written about how introverts can succeed as leaders and entrepreneurs and the importance of communication in the workplace as well as our personal relationships.
Showing Disinterest Will Set You Back
It helps to be reminded why listening is more important than speaking in many situations, especially in business. How many times have you asked someone to do something, and they totally get it wrong? I see this a ton at the office, especially when people are learning new things. You’d think that someone new to the workplace or given a new responsibility would be super motivated and attentive, but sadly that doesn’t always happen.
I’ve had people yawn on me when I’m sitting right next to them explaining how to do important tasks. Seriously? That is so rude! It gives me no confidence that they have the skills to do the job, and it drives me crazy when their lack of listening wastes my time by having to go back and repeat myself. These types of bad impressions aren’t forgotten, so don’t screw up with something as easy as listening. And if you have people reporting to you, remind them to be attentive!
No One Will Remember What You Said If You Don’t Listen To Them
And it’s not just new hires that are guilty of zoning out, nodding off, and letting their eyes glaze over at the office. I used to have a boss who would literally fall asleep in every internal meeting we had. I’m not talking about large lecture style meetings either, but small round table meetings in a conference room with less than 10 people.
What a bad example he set for us and we all could see him falling asleep clear as day. Maybe he said some great things in those meeting, but all I remember about him was that he wasn’t listening when the rest of us were talking. So if you have ever zoned out or actually fallen asleep in a meeting, you better kick that habit now or your colleagues will end up hating you. Grab a coffee and imagine how you would feel if everyone else was sleeping when you were talking.
Unless You’re Joshua Foer, Write Things Down!
Joshua Foer has a record breaking memory that puts all of ours to shame. For those of us normal folks, it’s way too easy to lose track of all the things running through our brains and our to do lists if we’re not organized. This is why it blows my mind that so many people never write anything down. I would be a disaster without my task lists and notes.
So this is why I encourage people to take notes when they are in meetings and learning something new. I’m not talking about writing pages and pages of full on sentences when someone else is speaking because that’s inefficient. However, writing key bits of information and bullet points really help you absorb data. And it also shows the speaker that you are paying attention and want to remember what they are saying.
Strong Leadership Requires Active Listening
Being an great speaker is important in leadership roles, but in order to become a strong leader you really need to be an active listener. You have to listen and respond to questions, understand clearly what your clients and team needs, and be receptive of feedback and constructive criticism. Think of the strong leaders in your life. Chances are high they are solid listeners!
Here’s a funny video that goes to show why it’s important to listen and write things down.
This post is sponsored by Domtar.