“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen.
Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”
I’m often asked why I wrote How to be Heard. The answer is that, in my experience, most people don’t listen very well. And they don’t speak very well either. The problem often stems from many social causes.
Today I want to talk about the power of speaking. Five times as many people have watched my talk about speaking than the one about listening. That says a lot.
Speaking well is very important. And there’s a circular relationship between speaking and listening. Good speakers tend to be better listeners, and visa versa. Our speaking abilities have some very important outcomes.
One common habit that springs from the desire to be right is interrupting. This may result from speechwriting, as described earlier, but it can, and often does, arise with no planning at all—simply an overbearing desire to disagree, demand an answer or make a point now, without waiting for the other person to finish.
Speaking and listening are critical skills for anyone who wants to make a difference, as a leader, a parent, a spouse, a friend or a colleague. So… how much thought, time and energy have you put into actively developing your speaking and listening? If the answer is not much, here are nine secrets of powerful speaking and conscious listening.
Do you ever struggle to create a natural, effortless connection with your audience? This might be in public speaking or in personal conversations. The basis of creating genuine connections when you speak comes down to one simple rule: it’s not about you.
Alex Doman is co-author of the book Healing at the Speed of Sound. And as you might imagine, we’re very attuned when it comes to the power of listening. “Ultimately, listening is an expression of conscious intention, caring, and compassion for one another. If we take the time to truly connect and to listen, we learn far more than through any words that we speak”, he says.