If you look closely at your relationships, you will see that the effectiveness of your relationships is determined by how well you communicate. How well you communicate with others is determined, by and large, by how well you listen.
— Amir Fathizadeh, Professional Business/Life Coach
Why listening skills are important
If you don’t currently have good listening skills, it’s important for both your personal and business success that you start developing them right away.
Why? Let’s start with the fact that research says adults spend an average of 70% of their waking time engaged in some form of communication. Of that time, we spend 45% listening, 30% speaking, 16% reading, and 9% writing. That’s a lot of time spent listening!
But just because we spend more time listening than engaging in any other communication skill, it doesn’t mean we’re naturally good at it. In fact, by just about any measure, the average person is a poor listener.
Sure, we might be sitting with another person who’s talking to us. We might even be making eye contact with the other person and nodding our heads, but are we really paying attention? Are we really processing what the other person is saying, or are we just pretending to listen while we’re daydreaming or preparing what we’re going to say back to the person when he stops talking?
The truth is, very few people have strong listening skills. And it’s no wonder. After all, listening skills are rarely taught in school, and very few people seek out extra training on listening skills on their own.
If your listening skills aren’t quite what they should be, don’t despair. Like any other set of skills, listening skills can be developed.
In this course, we’ll show you how to become a world-class listener.
How good listening benefits you, both personally and professionally
How well you listen has a major impact on the quality of your personal life and relationships. Good listening:
- leads to better grades in school, which leads to improved self-esteem and confidence;
- helps you make friends more easily and build strong social networks;
- solves problems, ensures understanding, and resolves conflicts;
- helps develop resourceful, self-reliant kids who solve their own problems; and
- builds strong marriages (it can even save a marriage that’s on the rocks).
In addition, good listening skills can benefit your work life in several ways. Good listening:
- leads to greater productivity with fewer mistakes;
- leads to better customer satisfaction;
- allows you to avoid conflict and misunderstandings with your co-workers;
- improves your ability to influence, persuade, and negotiate; and
- makes the sharing of information more effective, which leads to more creative and innovative teamwork.
In fact, good listening skills are so critical to business success that many successful leaders and entrepreneurs credit their success to their listening skills. Richard Branson, for example, frequently points to listening as one of the main factors behind the success of Virgin.
In this program, we’ll lay out a program for improving your listening skills dramatically, which will lead to greater personal and professional success. We’ll start with the basics of what good listeners do that sets them apart from the average person, and we’ll walk you through a number of exercises that will allow you to practice and build these basic skills.
We’ll then take you on a deep dive into three of the most challenging common listening situations:
- when you’re in a conversation with someone with whom you disagree,
- when you’re in a conversation with someone who’s upset or angry, and
- when you’re in a conversation with someone when you’re in a managerial or coaching role.
Let’s get started!