Speak Less, Listen More
Cover Photo By Public Domain Pictures
As people, we’ve been imbued with an incredible gift: the ability to speak. But for some of us, our ability to move our vocal cords has turned into a compulsion, and we feel the need to talk constantly about anything we can think of.
There’s a problem with this approach: when we speak, we often don’t listen. We’re focused on what we’re saying to the detriment of the people around us. Listening, though, is good for mind, body, and soul. Here are some of the reasons why you might want to listen more.
When You Talk About Everything, You Say Nothing
Have you ever been around somebody who talks all the time? A chatterbox? Can you remember any of what they said? The likely answer is “no” you can’t. The reason you can’t is that that person didn’t say anything of substance. They didn’t think carefully about what they said before they spoke, and so they didn’t spend any time thinking about whether what they were saying was useful to you.
Speaking less but saying more is a hallmark of interesting people. Engaging people are careful about how and when they speak, and they only say things when they think that it’s worthwhile. People who are the most exciting limit how much they talk because they want their contributions to be valuable.
When You Listen, You Avoid Jumping To Conclusions
Listening is an important activity you can learn more about here. People who struggle to hear what others are saying often feel depressed because they cannot engage properly with friends and family. Hearing loss can be a tragic event (but a solvable one) because it cuts people off from those around them. Those who can hear, however, can still struggle to listen, and this can take its toll on relationships.
Most relationships don’t break down because one person is “bad” and another “good.” Usually, arguments arise because of miscommunication: people don't’ take the time to listen to what the other person is saying and fail to gain insights about why they’re doing what they’re doing. Listening helps you avoid costly errors in communication which could derail your relationships. When you listen, you really get to know the person to whom you’re talking.
When You Speak Less, You Do More
When you speak, your focus shifts from whatever you’re doing to what you’re saying. Speaking takes up so much of your cognitive resources, in fact, that you’re usually unable to continue working, especially if you do something creative or intellectually challenging for a living.
Speaking for 10 minutes less every day can help open up your world to new possibilities. You become more productive (saving over 300 minutes every month), allowing you to concentrate far more intensely on your life goals.
When You Speak Less, You Can Write More
Most people’s speech is chaotic and disorganized, making it difficult to get ideas across. Does that sound like you? If so, speaking less and writing more could be a good idea. Writing forces us to organize our thoughts more coherently, helping us to express them more accurately.