Shut Up and Listen

I want to let you in on an ignored secret to personal and professional success. Unless you live in a cave, you know that what once seemed incredible to us is now the standard. Innovation, technological discoveries, and growth happen so often and quickly that we hardly even notice. And believe it or not, the best is yet to come. Incredible wondrous things will fill our lives and the lives of generations to come. We’ll live longer, travel farther, and be amazed minute by minute.

If you don’t like change, go back to your cave because it is inevitable, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But some change isn’t good. One thing that seems to be taking a hit is how we communicate. There is a possibility that one-on-one communication could go the way f the DODO bird. The time-honored “skill” of listening has become a lost art. People have their heads down, are addicted to their communication devices, and seemingly have lost their verbal communication ability. I’ve seen business offices where people text each other rather than standing up and walking to the next cubicle. Many people now listen to find a place to talk rather than to listen for understanding.

The art and discipline of listening have become valued assets. If you don’t believe me, ask any high-end recruiter. They’ll say that listening skills are crucial in skills they look for in qualified executives to represent or hire. For example, I was recently interviewing a candidate for a sales position. I asked him a critical question that he answered while simultaneously checking his email.

The primary skill that I believe is necessary for any entrepreneur, business owner, or successful executive is to learn to master the art of asking questions. The rule is simple: Ask a question and then SHUT UP and listen to your companion’s words. Listening is a learned skill; when you become known as a world-class listener, the most amazing things begin to happen. People want to be around you. People take you in their confidence, and they will tell you the most amazing things.

The secret skill of listening is my gift today for you. Many years ago, one of my valued mentors shared his most powerful secret with me. And this secret has served me as one of the three most potent “secrets” that have helped me be incredibly successful in my personal and professional life. So, if you are an employee, a business owner, an entrepreneur, or an executive; For that matter, if you’re a human being, heed my mentors’ advice from so long ago; “Shut up and listen, your prospect or client or friend or spouse will without a doubt tell you how to help them and how to sell them. And they’ll respect you for it.”

Our world is one of continuous change. Accept that. But in turn, some things will never change, and the power of active listening is one of them.

Learn to listen. People will wonder what you’re doing.

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