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Why Listening is Better than Talking

I have spent about 10-years of my career training staff on how to be thoughtful and intentional listeners. This work contributed to a strong listening culture throughout the organization. I get pretty excited about this topic! So excited in fact, that I think I will spend three articles on it. This is what we’ll cover:

  • Why Listening is Better Than Talking – Today! 

  • The Listening Leader – next week

  • Creating a Listening Culture – the week after

Ready? Here we go!

There are many reasons that listening is better than talking, and I could write about this topic for a very long time. To be mindful of your time, today I’ll focus on these three reasons:

  1. You benefit

  2. The other person benefits

  3. The relationship benefits

How you benefit:

I love this quote from Larry King: “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” When we listen, we grow. We can learn a new skill, a new way of doing things, or what’s really going on in our company. We can discover untapped talents in our team members or new ideas that we would have never come up with. A leader’s job is not necessarily to have all of the answers, but to foster creativity and initiative in our team members. If you are doing all of the talking, your team will just wait for your direction. Your success will be limited to the things you can come up with in your own brain.

How the other person benefits:

People want to be heard. Period. It’s as simple as that. Want someone to feel good? Listen intently to them. Want someone to respect you? Listen to understand them. As I suggest above, good leaders pull talents and great ideas from their team. If you are a listening leader, you are going to be receptive to those ideas and your work will advance faster. When someone’s ideas help move the company forward, they feel valued and connected to the business. Want to keep employees around? Listen to them.

How the relationship benefits:

In the Larry King quote, he’s not just talking about hearing words. He’s talking about hearing the words and the meaning and emotion behind them. In order to hear all of that, you need to choose a mindset that cares more about what the other person has to say than what you have to say. By being open to hearing more than just words, you communicate that you care and respect the person you are listening to. Listening doesn’t mean that you agree with everything the other person is saying. It means that you want to understand their point of view or ideas.

Using this mindset allows you to listen even when you need to be the one speaking. By carefully observing the non-verbal cues from the listener, you can learn a lot. “Listening with your eyes” will tell you how you are being received, what the listener thinks about you, and what they think about what you’re saying. If the feedback you’re getting isn’t what you want it to be, it’s probably time to do more listening.

If you would like help in developing your listening skills or creating a listening culture, I would love to help! Email me at for a free discovery call. Happy listening!

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