Just listenBy Wade Kwon
Youâ€™re too quiet, people often tell me. Itâ€™s usually at an inappropriate time, in a group setting, inadvertently designed for maximum embarrassment.
Iâ€™m no longer embarrassed but grateful.
Iâ€™m not too quiet. Youâ€™re too talkative.
Shut up and listen, please.
Itâ€™s a key to success, believe it or not. So goes the lesson from a seminar last week on influencing others, whether they be colleagues, bosses, customers, clients or subordinates.
Mike asked me to sum it up in 10 seconds. And I did.
Listening well is the key. You canâ€™t ask the right questions, or connect, or build teams if you donâ€™t listen.
I am often quiet in groups, whether in meetings or social gatherings. Observers read far too much into that passive display: shy, judgmental, contemplative, bored, aloof, scared, disengaged, disinterested.
I might actually be lost in thought, analytical, observant, completely engaged and focused.
Iâ€™m usually listening. Iâ€™m thinking about what youâ€™re saying while trying to avoid formulating an answer (it distracts me from the conversation).
If I say something, itâ€™s usually a question. I need to know more. I want to hear you continue. I want to engage you. I donâ€™t want to reveal my thoughts just yet.
If I say something else, I want to make it count. Iâ€™d rather say nothing or one profound thing than chatter away.
Plus, listening is sexy, or so Iâ€™ve been told. If someone really listened to me, I think Iâ€™d find it to be a turn-on.
Itâ€™s the ultimate compliment. I pay attention because youâ€™re interesting or funny. I ignore you if youâ€™re not.
Donâ€™t look at me. Just listen.