To answer before listening, that is folly and shame. –Proverbs 18:13
Like most, I have some significant regrets in my life!
I have several verbal regrets. I’ve said things to people I wish I could take back, misguided words that have stung and wounded others. I feel terrible about those moments that I can’t take back.
But I have no regrets in my life about listening!
I’ve never thought, “Why did I pay such good attention to that person? Why was I so patient and empathetic in showing them respect?”
Why? Because listening does not lead to regret!
Are you a world-class listener or are you normally the one doing all the talking?
Maybe you’re like me and need a little self-assessment that can be assisted by asking a spouse or friend: “Am I a better listener or talker? Do I have a problem with talking too much?”
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:
• If you interrupt the person before they answer, you may have a problem with listening.
• If you don’t allow people to finish their sentence, you may have a problem with listening.
• If you’re forming a sentence and response while the other person is talking, you need a little help.
The goal of communication is not to jump into the game, Outburst, while others are talking. The goal is to listen.
If you have a pattern of talking too much and not listening well, you violate intimacy, community and depth of relationship. It’s a problem that needs to be fixed.
If this describes you, give some thought to the reasons behind why you talk so much. Ask yourself, “What’s behind all the words that violate the power of listening?”
Listening is the language of love. Listening creates value. Listening is a skill to learn. It’s a craft to master. It’s a gift to give. It’s a way to draw close and minister to others.
1. How does being a good listener help to build healthy relationships?
2. What will it take for you to become a better listener?
Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 29:20; Proverbs 10:19