Most of us admire a good listener. They don’t interrupt us. When we finish talking, they add relevant insights…often without judgment. They hear not only what we said, but what we left unsaid…which amazes us even more.
Confident listener qualities
People who are confident don’t interrupt others because they know that:
- Interrupting others can cost them relevant information.
- It’s easier to spot incongruities between what’s being said and what the speaker does…insights that are essential to achieving any goal.
- There will be time for them to share their insights when the person speaking is finished.
- The other party is more likely to listen to them if they listened respectfully.
Confident listeners don’t judge because they know that judgment causes resistance. We can sense when others are judging us and we resent that judgment. On the other hand, we readily accept observations others make when there is no judgment involved.
Hearing what isn’t said
The incongruities between what people say and what they’re doing enables us to ‘hear’ what isn’t being said. If I say that I need to be able to focus more effectively but I have interrupted our conversation three times to check incoming calls, you know that either I’m not aware of what I’m doing or developing my ability to focus really isn’t that important to me.
Confident listener attitudes
The reasons why confident listeners are able to do these things are:
- Confidence prevents them from being concerned about others’ perceptions. Consequently they don’t feel the need to demonstrate how clever they are…despite the fact that they are indeed very clever.
- Confidence enables them to be comfortable with who they are. Because they’ve gotten out of the habit of judging themselves, they rarely judge others.
- Confidence helps them realize how important it is to get as much information as possible before offering advice.
- Confidence enables them to ask questions without concern for whether their questions are going to make them look stupid. They know the value of exploratory questions for good decision making.
- Confidence enables them to see incongruities between their own words and behaviors which makes it easier for them to spot incongruities in others as well.
You can become a better listener and a more effective counselor to all you meet if, before embarking on a conversation, you remind yourself that you demonstrate confidence in your own abilities when you:
- Don’t interrupt others while they’re talking.
- Realize that Interruptions may cost you valuable information.
- Listen and observe without judgment…you’ll avoid getting resistance for your ideas.
- Listen for incongruities…what’s unsaid as well as what’s said.
This simple approach employed prior to any conversation you have will accelerate not only your listening skills, but your confidence in those skills. You’ll be amazed at how quickly these skills become habits and how much easier they make your life.
For our kids
Instead of stopping your kids from interrupting, help them see the advantages of confident listening. Kids are like sponges, they absorb new concepts at an incredible rate. Tap into that natural tendency not only with instruction, but through the example you set in the way you listen. Later in life, they’ll thank you for the wonderful gift you gave them.