Over the years, I have come to appreciate the importance of having someone who listens. I realized that they may not have provided any special help in the things that we were doing but that they listened and asked questions helped a lot. That’s why I am now suggesting you may need to find someone who will listen to you this year as one of the ways to become productive.
How does getting a listening person help you become productive? The first thing I thought about was the relationship between a mentor and a protégé. Sometimes, what the real mentor does is to listen. He doesn’t necessarily know everything or have all the answers to the questions from the protégés but he is able to listen and reason with them. I have had the privilege of providing some mentoring support to some younger people. When I think about our meetings, it is my opinion that I really didn’t do much except to listen. Yet, the protégés were so happy by the time they were done talking to me.
I have also been in that situation of talking to some older people or some friends. They really did not add much to what I was doing but I felt better and probably more confident about what I needed to do after speaking with them.
Recently, it occurred to me that some people just need someone they can talk to for them to get things done. They just need someone who will listen to them and not say much but do a lot of talking with the body language. I also decided to look into what listening does to those who are talking and I think it can do the following:
Reinforced confidence – The person who is talking has his or her confidence reinforced because there is someone who is listening. When there is no one to listen, people may have great ideas or pursuits but still be very discouraged. I believe people can become so confident just because they have someone somewhere listening to them and giving them the nudge to go ahead.
Questioned strategy – While listening to people, without saying a word, they get that chance to hear themselves out. As they begin to speak, their own strategies may make more or less sense to them. Until they say it to someone else, it may look perfect to them so listen alone can help bring out the flaws in some strategies.
Motives are checked – While listening to people, their motives for whatever they set out to do is always checked. They also know it. I remember being in a meeting and someone raised an issue. Immediately the issue was raised, the motive became clear and the person was confronted with the motive. It is possible that we sometimes don’t know we have a right or wrong motive. In some cases, our motives are not bad but there should be higher priorities and these things can be revealed when others listen to us.
Possibilities are considered – You know I have said certain things to myself and I never thought about how to make them happen until other people started listening to me? While looking at the issue myself, it just seems so real and so possible that I almost forget to think about how to make it happen. Just when I start speaking to others, the reality hits about the possibility of that thing. At this point, if you can’t come up with the possibilities, then the others who are listening make their suggestions.
I think there are a number of other reasons why getting someone who listens helps you in life to be more productive. Yes, you also get a chance to mock yourself in front of a smaller group rather than mess yourself up before a crowd. You would have looked at all the things that don’t sound right with the people listening before you present the same thing to a large crowd.
It takes strength and humility to let others ‘vet’ what you are doing but at the end of the day, you will realize that you saved yourself a lot of stress by finding someone who listens and you presented something better. Find someone who listens and do something better.