We’ve been blessed with a very precious gift, my friends: the gift of talking. The gift of language. The gift of being able to express our feelings, emotions, ideas or plans into something called words. But, alas, as with every gift, overusing it may lead to unexpected results.
Speaking and listening in a balanced way are imperative in our world. The noise of useless words that many of us are throwing away in an attempt to get a grip on someone else’s attention, creates a thick fog that makes it really difficult to actually understand each other. Ironically, the more we talk, the less we’re able to communicate.
Read on about these 6 benefits of speaking less and listening more and improve the way you communicate with the world.
Think Before You Speak
So obvious, yet so underused. Under the impulse of “taking the stage,” of speaking before the other one could make his moves, we often open our mouth without really knowing what we’re going to say. Sometimes we improvise and it may turn out right. But most of the time, we’re just shouting randomly about a topic, without any quality contribution to the conversation. The result: no one really listen to us.
Take a deep breathe before you respond, no matter how “urgent” the answer may look. Think for a while. Keep in mind the thought that you really have has many options, not just one. Ponder and your answer will not only be well thought out but people will be more apt to listen.
Listen Before Jumping To Conclusions
Again, the “need for speed” of our current world often forces us to simplify our interactions, to the point where they become useless. Based on just a few words, or a few sentences, we often create a perspective on some thing or some person, which may simply be inaccurate because we didn’t take the time to actually listen.
Really listening means not only giving to the other the time to finish his speech, but also the exercise of “borrowing” his perspective. Listening means to actually see things from their point of view.
Limit Yourself To What’s Important
The infamous “information overload” created by the internet revolution is not about the quantity of the information available out there. But merely about the relevance of that information. Every time you update your Facebook timeline, or you publish a blog post, or you simply open your mouth to say something, you’re adding up to this fog. Have you ever tried to contemplate if what you’re going to say is really that important? Sometimes, silence really IS golden..
Too often, the reason is that we’re talking is simply just to hear our voices, no matter if we do this out loud, by writing emails or updating our Twitter. Imagine how silent it would be out there if we could just limit ourselves only to what’s really important.
Get To Know Others Better
And that means doing things together, not only talking about things together. Getting up from the couch and do a short team jog, watching the sunset together, silently, playing a game, or having a meal. All these are actions that, apart from the main benefit of enjoying life, have also a secondary, very important outcome: they help you understand other people better.
Create A Better Reality
When you speak less, you do more. It’s obvious. Your focus switches from talking to doing. While talking and expressing your feelings is important, ‘doing’ is equally important. If you could refrain yourself from talking for 5 minutes a day, in a month you will have gained 30 days x 5 minutes = 150 minutes, 2 and a half hours for yourself. What would you do with this time?
Whatever you want, of course. You can go to the gym, cook for your spouse, craft something in the garage, coach someone, help a neighbor, you name it. As long as your goal is to make the world a better place, doing will always beat speaking.
It’s still a form of expressing yourself, but it has a few perks. If you write, you’re more accountable. Written words last more than spoken words. Also, you will clear your mind without the help of somebody else. Writing in a journal or blogging, as long as you follow the number one rule of this list, (“think before you do it”).
And when you’re writing, something very interesting will happen: you will be forced to “listen” to yourself. You will be exposed to your own thoughts and emotions. You will get to know yourself better. Or, to be more precise, you will start to discover who you are.