You know, my son Scott gives a presentation called “If You’re Talking, You’re Losing,” which is a really powerful thing. I think we all talk first and listen second. You know that saying about how if God wanted us to speak more than listen he would have given us two mouths—but he gave us two ears. I heard a wonderful thing recently, too: “Lead with your ears.” This is a thing I really need to learn. The problem with some of us is that we get so excited, and we’re so into what we’re doing, that when people talk to us the first thing we do is think about a response. We think about what we’re going to say next. I think I do that too often. So if I’m ever with you and I’m talking too much, just say to me very gently, “Ken—Shut your mouth and use your ears!” Wouldn’t it be neat if we could all feel free to do that with each other? If we would listen, we’d probably learn a lot more. So my thought today for myself and probably all of us is: Listen more and speak less. And remember when people say things, even if it sounds like it’s going to be a problem if you do something with what they say, separate out listening from deciding what you’re going to do. Listen first and decide second. Listen, listen, listen.
4 thoughts on “If You’re Talking, You’re Losing”
Like Stephen Covey wrote in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, listen to understand, don’t listen just to respond. It also reminded me of a posting I sent in reply to a gentleman asking about listening, just this morning …
The Ministry of Listening
The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear. So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him. Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking. Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking where they should be listening. But he who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life, and in the end there is nothing left but spiritual chatter and clerical condescension arrayed in pious words. One who cannot listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the point and be never really speaking to others, albeit he be not conscious of it. Anyone who thinks his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and his brother, but only for himself and for his own follies.
“Life Together” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Great comment, I need to remember this during presentations. A prospect or a customer makes a comment and I found myself so excited to make my comment. Often, when I listen to their comment, there is really no more for me to say, because they get it!
Listen with your mind; Listen with your heart.
Brad Sugars, who is the CEO and Founder of my company, ActionCOACH Business and Executive Coaching, tells the story of being told by his father, “You have one mouth but two ears . . .use them in proportion.” Simple and powerful rule to live by.
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