Listen Up!

Aug 7, 2023 | Personal Development

A wise man once told me, “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. It’s because you should listen twice as much as you talk”.

What does it mean to listen? And I mean really listen. It’s much more than simply hearing. It means to actually take mental notes of what you’re tuning in to. “Actively listening” means not letting what you hear go in one ear and out the other. It requires you to listen attentively, attempt to understand what is being said, remember what is being said, and respond if or when it is appropriate.

Before we started to succeed as entrepreneurs, I was not a great listener. I simply didn’t realize how important being a good listener really was. My lack of focused listening led to a lack of understanding, which led to a lack of positive growth in life and in business. After a solid year of struggling to succeed in business, I was humbled enough to really work on becoming a better listener. I stopped trying to coach myself on how to become successful and decided to really listen to the experts.

Zip It!

As you refresh yourself on what it means to listen, here’s the first step: Zip it! In case you don’t know what that means, “zip it” or “zip your lips” means STOP talking so much. If you are someone that doesn’t talk much, then this shouldn’t be a problem. But just because you don’t talk much doesn’t mean you are necessarily listening. If you are an outgoing talker, this can be more challenging. It might take a little more self-control to zip your lips, but you can do it.

When you stop allowing yourself to talk so much, you have more energy to focus on what others are saying instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next. You never want to seem zoned out of a conversation because you are trying to think about how you’re going to respond. I’m sure you’ve had conversations with people that you can tell aren’t listening to you because they are thinking of what to say next. That never creates good vibes. People appreciate knowing you are listening to them.

Some of my greatest learning moments have come from choosing to stay quiet, even when I really wanted to say something. And some of my most regretful moments have come from saying something when I should have just stayed quiet. There is wisdom in staying quiet until the time is right.

Be Willing.

The next important step to boost your listening skills is to be willing. Willing to what? 

Be willing to listen with a grateful attitude. Being a grateful listener will give you the opportunity to learn and grow from what people share with you. On the other hand, being a distracted and/or ungrateful listener closes the door to human connection and blocks the opportunity to learn from others.

I know it can be difficult sometimes to admit that you need to improve something about yourself, but when you do, it shows a lot of maturity and can lead to huge self-improvement. So, the question you need to ask yourself is: Am I a grateful listener or a distracted and/or ungrateful listener?

If you are grateful, good for you! This will show the people you listen to that you appreciate their time and guidance and that you want more of it! If you are a distracted or ungrateful listener, we really hope you work on that. If you do, it will lead to improved communication, improved relationships, and definitely a lot of positive learning!

Practice.

At this point, you’re probably ready to improve your listening skills and become a better listener.

Here are a few pro tips:

  • Face the speaker and make good eye contact.
  • Don’t look at your phone when you are in a conversation.
  • Don’t interrupt.
  • Stay focused.
  • Have a friendly look on your face.
  • Ask questions at appropriate times.
  • Be grateful.
  • And last but not least, zip it.

You are in total control of how you listen and how you communicate. Even if some of these tips don’t come naturally to you, we know you can still apply them. Learning how to listen all over again takes practice but it’s always worth it.

Always remember that knowledge without action is useless. We hope that this blog has shined a light on how you can become a better listener. Now it’s time to prove that you’ve learned something today and intentionally get out there and open your ears!

9 Comments

  1. Linda Tennies

    Zip it. Profound and so true. Listen with your heart!

    Reply
  2. Kurt Lyon

    This is a blog post I should read weekly. Learning to listen is so vital and this post is full of fantastic nuggets.

    Reply
    • John Lingnofski

      Well said. And I’ve learned that listening is not a skill you “master”. It’s continued to be a work in progress for me throughout my life.

      Reply
  3. Adrienne Stokley

    Definitely a “must read regularly” post. Thanks for the reminder to be PRESENT in conversation and to ZIP IT!

    Reply
  4. Barbie Miller

    Agreed!!
    Intentional, attentive, active listening 👂 ears to hear and heart to receive❤️

    Reply
  5. Mike Condensa

    Outstanding blog! A true art of a leader. Now that I’m applying this more, my conversations are becoming deeper much quicker and there’s a lot more relatability. Thank you, David, Jamiee, you two are incredible!

    Reply
  6. Debbie Moore

    Thank you, David & Jaimee for this great article! Good listening to words & body language communicates how much you value the other person!

    Reply
  7. Ajit Damodaran

    Yes indeed! Listen more than I speak – a lesson I need to remind myself of everyday!

    Reply
  8. Christopher Mychajluk

    Pearls of wisdom to a more productive and happy life!

    Reply

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