“Listening is not only about waiting, but it’s also learning how to better ask questions.”- Jacqueline Novogratz
Most people think that in a meeting, we should speak and share our thoughts. Even worst, some people think that if you do not speak, they believe that you are absent or shy. On the other hand, others are speaking without really listening to anyone else. Of course, the middle ground is always the best approach. In fact, listening to what others have to say and asking the right questions at the right time or adding important relevant facts are the best ways to improve efficiency during a meeting.
Listening is such a powerful way to improve your skills. While listening, you absorb information from the situation and you can help others to the best of your abilities. Here are 3 reasons why carefully listening benefit in a discussion:
- Respect others: It gives you more respect from others, as Dale Carnegie mentioned in his book, How to win friends and influence people “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.” (see book summary) Indeed, the more you listen to what people has to say, the more people think of you as a friend.
- Understand others: if you really listen, and not just hear what people has to say, you are able to understand their point of view and get to understand what they care about and what they are looking for. In other terms, you are able to see what their goals are.
- Quality debate: if everyone would carefully be listening, the discussion would exclude unnecessary arguments or excessive obstinacy. People would focus on finding the right decision that would make everyone agreed.
Most people are afraid to ask questions. They believe that asking questions makes them ignorant or embarrass others.
However, it shows others your interest in the topic and an interest in learning. Here are 3 reasons why asking questions benefit during a conversation:
- Find unthought ideas to fix a problem: it helps people to share valuable information that could solve a problem. Successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Richard Branson always ask questions to their executives or employees. They are aware that it is impossible to know everything. So, even if they are extremely successful, they constantly ask for guidance in order to make better final decisions.
- Learn: you can easily learn by asking experts questions. Of course, the more you ask questions, the more you learn. So you should not be embarrass asking questions because not matter what, you will always be more knowledgeable than if you do not ask a question. As Confidus says: “The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute the man who does not ask is a fool for life”.
- Get to know someone: share your opinions to better understand what others think. Learning about others improves your relationship with them. In fact, asking them questions about their hobbies or simply about their family make them believe you are interested in them. So, asking questions about what they do or what they are passionate about will only open their gate and share with you much more information than if you deny them or give little to no care about what they have to say.
All forms of communication require to listen and ask questions, whether you are talking to your family, wife, children, co-workers, boss… It does not matter who you talk to as long as you truly listen what people has to say and ask them questions accordingly. By really focusing on those basic abilities that nature has given us, we can truly improve our relationship with others by kindly listen to the person and ask questions when necessary to help, guide or simply learn from that person or his knowledge.
ask questions, listen