Most people just want to be heard. When you practice good listening skills, people are more willing to agree with you, and they’ll be more likely to listen to you, too.

Listening skills aren’t just valuable for conversations. Learning how to listen is one of the best ways to make friends and strengthen your existing relationships. In many cases, most disagreements are misunderstandings. Listening can help you avoid these problems. Keep reading and discover how and why listening is so valuable.

Give Others Your Full Attention

There are many reasons we talk to others. Sometimes we need to tell someone something important. Other times we are the one who needs to hear it. Quite often, we just want to make a human connection. What we say isn’t as important as knowing someone is there, and having your presence acknowledged. 

No matter why you’re in a conversation, the person you are talking to will be happier if you give them your full attention. Put your phone down, stop whatever else you are doing, and turn to face them, and you’ll see an immediate change for the better.

When you’re listening, you can do more than just sit there passively and nod. Giving words of encouragement, asking questions, and repeating things you don’t completely understand are ways to show you’re paying attention. These are called active listening skills. They not only let others know you’re listening, they help you get the most out of the conversation.  If someone isn’t sure you’re paying attention, they may hold back and not give you everything they have. Everyone has something valuable they can teach you. If you’re not fully present, they’re not always going to share. When people feel appreciated and valued they are more likely to go the extra mile and do more to help you. Paying attention and using active listening skills encourages understanding and cooperation. They are skills that don’t just help you learn and negotiate, they help you be a better friend.

Why Listening Works

Your brain is full of special cells called mirror neurons. These specialized cells unconsciously motivate you to copy people you like or who are similar to you.  You can tell when mirror neurons are working because you’ll notice other people mimicking you. They’ll hold their hands and arms the same as you, and when you nod they’ll nod back. Sometimes they’ll even repeat what you say. All of these actions indicate that you are making a real connection with someone else.

Image of brain neurons
Mirror Neurons In Your Brain Unconsciously Motivate You To Copy People You Like (Image Source: Creative Content)

This is part of why active listening encourages other people to listen to you. When you model the behavior you want to see in your audience they are more likely to mimic it back to you. Not only do the mirror neurons encourage them to behave, it’s easier when they know exactly what you want.

Human beings are social creatures. Even the most introverted people need contact with others. Sometimes they’re not very good at it though, so they hold back. Leading by example and developing a genuine interest in others is how to communicate effectively. Even when someone acts like they don’t want to talk, by being polite, respectful, and attentive you can encourage them to open up more. It’s important to remember not to overstep their boundaries. If someone doesn’t want to cooperate, being pushy will just make them resist harder. Sometimes you just have to be patient. Polite and respectful behavior will get you much further than pushy demands.

Study the Art of Listening

Mark Goulston is one of my favorite people. I know him personally and have used his professional services to help me improve my leadership skills. His books are a treasure trove of information and valuable advice that can help you earn more success and be a better person. 

The approach Mark takes is ideal for entrepreneurs and business professionals. He has good lessons that can apply to everyone, but his approach works best for respectable and considerate people.

Mark is an amazing psychiatrist and a good man. I’ve seen him go out of the way to help others, just because he can. He’s a hard worker who is more motivated by making a difference than in advancing himself personally. This makes him trustworthy and dependable. I recommend him and his services on a regular basis. I am very fortunate that he is a prolific writer. If you find his style appealing he has many books you can choose from that cover a variety of specialty and general topics.

Just Listen is an essential book for people who are learning the art of persuasion. Good listening skills don’t just help you be a better negotiator and have more influence, though. They also help you avoid making others feel uncomfortable or pressured into doing things they don’t want to do. I’ve learned a lot from Mark and his books. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the man I am today without his help.

Talking to Close Minded People Offers Hidden Benefits

Some people seem close-minded, but people who seem reluctant to cooperate are often hidden gems. As you develop your listening skills, you will find that a lot of people who look close minded are just cautious. They are often busy and dedicated and simply aren’t willing to change without a really good reason. Cultivating active listening skills and developing a genuine interest in others can help you persuade them that you really care.

Mark Goulston talks about Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone –
AfterBuzz Books

Once these cautious people understand your sincerity they will be much more likely to open up to you and be more cooperative. They often have an enormous amount of knowledge that can help you, so if you can win them over you will earn unexpected benefits. Because their trust is hard to win, it can be unusually strong. You’ll find many of these types of people are the most loyal and dependable friends you can have.

I recommend you develop effective listening skills as one of the most effective ways to improve your chances of success. My ability to listen is one of my most cherished skills. It’s one of the most neglected attributes in business, so I spend a lot of time coaching and training professionals in how to be better listeners.