ARE YOU ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?

Breathing Life Into Your Conversations

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Have you ever wanted to connect with people more effectively? You can. Here is one of the most surprising traits people of influence possess.

They listen.

Sooner or later, you’ll want to have a good conversation with someone. It may be a romantic interest, or a spiritual one, maybe even business. Whatever your situation, here is some great advice….shut up!

I know, not very polite. However, if you’ll learn to listen more and talk less, your influence will soar. Don’t believe me? Try it.

If we’re careful, most of us have the tendency to think we have to be the one doing all of the talking. After all, we love ourselves. As someone said we’re all tuned in to W.I.I F.M, or #whatsinitformefm. However, most people don’t want to talk about you, they want to talk about themselves. It’s just human nature.

So, rather than talking about yourself, listen. God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. And don’t listen just to be influential, listen because you really care. When you’re fully present with someone it shows them you care more than the average person. In fact, listening may just be one of the greatest gifts you can ever give someone.

Imagine if it got to the point where you became so familiar with your spouse that you no longer asked them about the details of their day or how they were feeling?  You may care, but if you’re not showing genuine interest in your mate, your actions are saying otherwise.  The same applies to your friends and co-workers, on different levels.

You’ll find you don’t have to be full of wisdom and perfect advice, you simply need the desire to help and be a good friend. Rather than worrying about what you’re going to say next or how you’re going to respond, ask questions….probe deeper. Help the person you’re listening to get to the heart of their matter. Rather than giving advice, ask them what they think they should do based on what they’ve told you.

It’s said that during a time of inner turmoil, Abraham Lincoln went to a friend and poured out his heart. When he was done talking, he got up, feeling much better and went about his business. Meanwhile, his friend had done nothing but sit and listen. That’s what good friends do.

When you become more interested in others, you become more interesting. People will tell their friends and co-workers about you and what a difference you’ve made in their life. Word travels fast.

“Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise; as long as they keep their mouths shut, they’re smart.”  Proverbs 17:28, The Message.

Again, you don’t listen to be manipulative or create fans. You listen because that’s what loving people do. You listen because you love God and He loves the person sitting across from you.  And when you listen, you become more like God.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”  James 1:19, KJV.

Lets face it, God listens more than most of us ever realize. Yes, He’s got a lot to say, but you’d be amazed at how patiently he listens. You can share with him whatever’s on your heart and he’ll listen. You can talk for days, months, years, and he’ll listen.

So then, the last conversation you had. Did you do more talking than listening? Try and remember what the person you were talking with had to say. Try to recall what was on their heart.

While you’re listening, be sure to boil it all down. Just like sap that comes from Maple trees, words and thoughts need to be boiled down to make something sweet. You’re not really listening until you try to understand where your friend is coming from. Don’t just listen to the words, read their body language and facial expressions. Sometimes these two things say more than actual words.

If you’re going to grow in influence, you need to be more of a giver than a taker. One way to do this is to be a better listener.  When you do, your relationships will bloom.  In the words of someone wise, “people become more interested in you when they realize you are more interested in getting something for them rather than from them.”

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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