“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

This is a quote in Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People that I’m currently reading.

When I read this, a memory immediately came to mind that happened about 20 years ago.  It was when I was in a meeting which was getting rather heated.  I was one of the vocal ones (surprise surprise!) and when one of the other people in the room was in the middle of arguing with me, I was eagerly leaning forward attempting to jump in with my response.

Suddenly, the chair of the group stopped us.  She turned to us both and said “I want you to both stop and listen to each other rather than waiting for your turn to reply.  And I mean really listen!”

This stopped us both in our tracks.  Well, it certainly stopped me.  I realised instantly that I hadn’t really listened to anything the other person was saying as I was so intent in listening for a gap in the conversation to jump into and take over.

I have never forgotten this moment and when I have a strong opinion on something and want to get my point across, I now have a totally different stance.  I now sit back.  And listen.

Why?

Because I may just hear a different perspective that I hadn’t considered before, and this may just change my viewpoint.  And if not, I can honestly and calmly say when I get the chance that I have listened carefully to all views put forward and would now like to put forward my own.  This commands much more respect than being the one who shouts the loudest.

If you really want to get your point across, take a tip from Stephen Covey.  Seek first to understand and then to be understood.  It makes a huge difference, I promise you.

If you want to read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People you can buy it here on Amazon.

 

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