3 Reasons You Should Work On Your Listening Skills

By Aaron Grubbs on November 7, 2016
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Chances are good that you aren’t as good of a listener as you think you are. And just a quick tip to everyone: Beware of those who claim to be good listeners. Studies report that an average of 20-30% of what we say is not interpreted the way we intended. But maybe you’re asking yourself, “20-30%? That’s not so much! Who cares about that?” Maybe you’re wondering why you even need to focus on being a better listener.

Reason Number One: People Will Like You More

People who have great command over their language and deliver incredible motivating speeches are wonderful to listen to. But that does not always mean they are equally as good at listening as they are at speaking or even that they are very empathetic. Take Hitler, for example. Fantastic speech giver. Rallied an entire country behind his movement. But I think we can all agree that empathy wasn’t exactly his strong suit. Don’t be a Hitler. Shut up and learn to listen.

Reason Number Two: You’ll Become A Smarter Person

“You learn a lot more by listening than you ever could by speaking.” …Okay, I don’t actually know who originally said that but I only agree with that about 60% of the time. I’d say just about every time I get into a debate with someone I end up having to explain my point in a new way that makes me think about it in a new way and therefore I learn something new. So there’s that.

But the problem lies with those thoughts we all get where we aren’t really listening to the other person anymore because we’re too busy just thinking about what we want to say as soon as the other person gives us the chance by stopping to take a breath. Don’t do that. Actively listen to what the other person is saying and process all of it. That way, at the very least, you’ll have more to comment on when you do get a chance to speak again. You’re also just less likely to misinterpret something they said and therefore can spend less time arguing over something they maybe didn’t actually even say.

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Reason Number Three: It Will Help You Learn Another Language

Listening is easily the most important task in learning another language (and I say this from current personal experience). Memorize as many verbs and nouns as you want but if you can’t pick them out audibly in a face to face conversation it doesn’t really matter. Listening someone speak a language you are currently trying to learn is one of the best ways for you to realize the real tangible difference between active and passive listening.

And let’s be honest, if you’re bilingual (especially in America), you are immediately more attractive. So become a better listener. Learn a new language quicker. Use that new language to woo the ladies (or gents! We like suave, unintelligible-sounding, gibberish whispered in our ear too!). Go on more dates. Find the love of your life. Get married. Live happily ever after! The end! (Also, since you’re listening to her more closely now, you might actually know what she’s mad at you for finally! *Emphasis on the “might.”)

Seriously though, listening is just so much more important than speaking sometimes. And we know this is true because of all the tropes we grew up with like, “You were given two ears and just one mouth so you can listen twice as much as you talk.” Ironically, these were forced down our throats by those who just wanted us to shut up long enough for them to talk more though, like our teachers and parents!

If you aren’t convinced yet though, then you may have just not been paying close enough attention!

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I transferred to FSU as a junior in Fall 2015 to study Creative Writing with goals of law school one day. Now that I'm double majoring in German also I'm studying abroad for a year in Northern Deutschland. Since I keep changing schools I'm basically a third year perpetual freshmen.

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