I shook my head at what I heard.
“I think we should add two…,” he said.
“But I thought one would…,” she said.
“I’m the one who…,” he countered.
“I was just trying to say…,” she came back at him.
I listened to my clients bicker, making no progress for at least two to three of my six hours. Neither would allow the other to finish a sentence, so they wasted their time, and mine, (for which they were paying me good money). The project they were making a vain attempt to discuss didn’t get past the thinking stage, as neither could still their lips long enough to hear the other out.
The interesting thing is, later as each cornered me to spit out what they wanted to say earlier, (and spend more of the money they were paying me for my time), they would have discovered they both had similar ideas. Instead of competing to be the first one to speak, or interrupting each other in hopes they could gain advantage by overtalking the other, they might have chosen to listen. With intent.
Neither accomplished their desires. They created conflict, and guaranteed there could be no exploration of opportunities or solutions. They gained nothing but an escalation of anger, frustration, and financial expenses. I see this all the time. And not just in the workplace.
One of the biggest obstacles to peace, is inattention or refusal to listen. If you follow me, you’ve heard me say it before, on my blog, in a podcast, on video, or during a radio interview. “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. We are meant to listen twice as much as we speak.”
And yet, it’s the biggest fail in all relationships. As much as I know this, I still stumble on occasion myself. But not half as much as in my past, because I focus a lot of energy on paying attention to what the other person is saying — with my ears, my head, and my heart.
Listening with intent has reduced chaos, friction, and removed the biggest obstacle to peace in my life. I am happier. Healthier. Wiser. And more satisfied when I listen to others. I learn a lot.
I also find most people are so relieved to have a person willing to let them talk, that regardless of personality type, whether extrovert or introvert, they open up. Trust is gained. Bonds are made. Loyalty is strengthened. And projects move forward.
So if you desire peace, might I suggest listening? Otherwise, overtalking does nothing but waste your time, money, and relationships.
Do you practice listening twice as much as you speak?
Anita Fresh Faith
Proverbs 1:33 (NLT)
“But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Expert, Certified Training Facilitator, Communications Specialist, and national speaker. Anita is also the author of, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market. Now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Lifeway, Christianbook.com, select Walmart’s, plus many fine stores, Christian and otherwise.
She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business coaching firm. Member of the Christian Writer’s Guild, Toastmasters, and a client of WordServe Literary Group. A graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries. Anita co-hosts a weekly podcast, Engaging Life and Leadership with Darren Dake, available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms.
Anita is passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.
Her favorite past time is lounging by a river or lake in Missouri, laughing with with her husband of thirty years, Ricky.