But this is only half of communication.
Listening is the other half of communication and is neglected most of the time.
We usually think that being a good listener means being polite and that it is for the benefit of the speaker, not for ourselves. But the true value of listening isn’t for the speaker at all. It is for the listener. Being able to understand and gather the ideas of others allows us to add them to our own.
We prefer speaking over listening because we would rather persuade than be persuaded. Being open to listening means embracing the possibility of being persuaded. And this represents a subtle threat to our own worldview.
Any time we come across information that conflicts with our worldview, our instinct is to push it away. As a result, we would much rather speak and reinforce our worldview, then listen and create the potential for it to change.
One of Steven Covey’s seven habits in his best-selling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, was entitled “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Most people would really like to just have someone to listen to their thoughts. Speaking and informing can only be successful after that.
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