Why you should listen more than you talk

“Never give reasons for what you think or do until you must. Maybe after a while, a better reason will pop into your head.” General William T. Sherman

When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. Robert Greene

The more someone talks the more you learn, the more we talk the more information we give away. Despite this, our inclination is to talk more than we listen. Listening lets us learn more about a situation, gather more information. Talking has the opposite effect, you give more information away.

Shut up and listen

The more people talk, the more points they make, the increased chance of contradicting themselves. The more points you make, the more ammunition you give to people to disagree with you, let them wonder what you think and give yourself room to change your mind.

We waste time by talking about things which aren’t important, focusing on the wrong areas, instead, keep quiet.

You learn by listening

When you speak you don’t learn. When you listen, you might hear extra information, a new idea, feelings or a new perspective. When you listen you learn.

What is the goal?

  • What is the goal of this discussion?
  • What is the motivation of the people?
  • What is being discussed?
  • What problem is being solved
  • What does the other person think?
  • Why do they think that?

When you listen it helps you understand what people think, why they think something and how they feel. Yet before they have time to speak, we are telling them about our ideas on the topic.

You produce better ideas if you explore problems, understand different perspectives, and gather more information before forming ideas. The earlier you speak the less information you have used to come to your conclusion and the great the chance of misunderstanding the situation.

Better solutions need you to listen and learn, if speed is the goal then talking can help you push forward a conversation and decision. The earlier you speak the less informed your answer will be.

Perspectives

There are no right or wrong solutions, each solution has strengths and weaknesses. Understanding different solutions from different perspectives allows you to create solutions by combining different ideas.

Silence makes people nervous

People don’t like silence and they will talk to fill it. The more people talk, you the more you learn about them, their thoughts and their ideas.

Less is more

”The human tongue is a beast that few can master. It strains constantly to break out of its cage, and if it is not tamed, it will run wild and cause you grief.” Robert Greene

Speaking less reduces your chances of saying something stupid or saying things which are incorrect. speaking more, increases the chances of you saying something stupid or something you will regret.

Time to think

The less you speak, the more time you have to think. You can’t talk and think, you can’t listen and think. When you listen you gather information, when the speaker stops, you think about the new data and how it fits with the existing data you had.

Ask questions

When you ask questions, you get answers. If you disagree, you can ask a question and highlights the weakness in their ideas. Don’t tell people they are wrong, ask questions and help them change their own minds.

Changing minds

Time arguing is time wasted and unsuccessful. So do less of it and focus on being positive. Don’t waste time on negativity.

Getting requirements

A mistake people make when getting requirements is stop listening and move to creating the solution. They stopped listening they didn’t create the solution that user needed because they didn’t understand the requirement.

Conclusion

Listen more than you speak, focus on acquiring information rather than sharing it. You gain little less by talking and more from listening. 

The more you talk, the more you give away. Listen, learn and follow Robert Greene’s 4th Law — always say less than necessary

4 thoughts on “Why you should listen more than you talk

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.