#010: The Key Skill to Listening That No One Told Us, Here it Is (Part 2) [Podcast]


You are either gaining or losing in your friendships based on how well you listen. Listening is like a bonus check you deposit in the bank.  Lack of listening is withdrawing from the account, if you go negative, they close the account.  In this podcast, we talk about how you can determine your beliefs about the outcomes from listening.

Listening is a key skill on how to make friends
Kevin Sharer, former CEO of Amgen, a $17 billion dollar company, shares a story about his early years when he was trying to win an order but kept talking, and talking, and talking.  His potential customer wrote a note to his VP who happened to be sitting right next to him.  Kevin was offended that they were passing notes while he was talking, so asked what was on the note.  The CEO showed him the note that said: “I have no idea what this idiot is talking about.”  Kevin learned from that humbling experience, which has served him well through his entire career.

Last week we began our conversation about listening.  With the goal defined, now there is reason and direction for our listening.  Listening becomes a heart response, rather than a mechanical “must do”.

Do you believe you gain or lose depending on how you listen?

I want to love with no strings attached.  It is super hard for me.  Rare is that person with pure motives.  Most of us decide who to befriend based on benefits that come to us.

Here is the surprising part. . .it is not always wrong to choose based on benefits!  There are many HEALTHY benefits to building good relationships!

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about how we make deposits while expecting to gain from our friendships.  It is true that we do expect benefits from our friendships, which, in our opinion, actually can be healthy.

As it pertains to listening, if you believe you will gain true benefits, you will listen more.  Some people are naturally better listeners.  Everyone has the ability to learn to listen better.  If you can define your gains, it provides the motivation to listen more.  If you can see what you lose by not listening, you will gain motivation to listen better.  If you see no real benefit to listening, it will be very hard to keep up the motivation to listen.

Where are you in terms of the gains and losses in listening?

Take a few moments to answer these questions to determine where you are:

1.What do you gain from listening to others?

2.What do you believe you lose when you don’t listen?

3.Are you ever worried that you are a poor listener?  If so, why?

What do you conclusions do you reach from the questions above?

Be honest with all of your thoughts-whether good or bad.  Our conclusions really surprised us!

Here is a link to Doug & Andrea’s answers to those questions.  Questions & Answer

6 Gains from listenings

According to Monika Hoyt, a relational coach, here are some gains we can realize when we fully listen to others:

1.  Feeling “felt” is a big part of emotional connection in relationships. Even when we have different perceptions of a situation, on a primal level we want to be understood from our point of view. Especially with distressing emotions, we need to know our partners will turn to us with understanding in order to feel safe.  Without this, relationships fail.

2.  Empathetic listening is also very healing to our partners. It’s a way for us to receive them as they truly are without judgment. We can “hear them into speech” and facilitate their full self-expression. This is a gift.

3.  But not only is it good for them, it’s good for you! Empathetic listening puts “money” into joint emotional bank accounts for deposits we will need later on.


We would like to add to Monika’s list:

4.  Emotionally you feel better.  By fully listening, something deep within you is rejuvenated.  This benefit, like running, shows up later, not while you are doing it.

5.  Insight is gained.  Others can teach us things!  As an example, at a recent gathering, in 20 minutes a friend told us an incredible way to get rid of moles and gophers.  We have spent hours fighting them in our field and garden.  But, more important than gopher information is insight into a person.  As you gain real insight into others, it frees you to accept and understand them.

6.  You will be wanted.  Think of someone that you know that is a great listener.  What do you think when they are around?  We can tell you who are and who are not good listeners in our lives.  We spend more and more time with the listeners, not from a plan or a conscience decision, simply because they are great to be around!


Here is a fun story to illustrate the importance of fully listening:

A man was sitting on the edge of the bed, observing his wife turning back and forth, looking at herself in the mirror. Since her birthday was not far off, he asked what she’d like to have for her birthday. “I’d like to be six again,” she replied, still looking in the mirror.

On the morning of her birthday, he arose early, made her a nice big bowl of Lucky Charms, and then took her to Six Flags Theme Park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park: the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, The Screaming Monster Roller Coaster. . .everything there was.

Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down.  He then took her to a McDonald’s where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake.  Then it was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favorite candy, M&M’s.

What a fabulous adventure! Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted. He leaned over his wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, “Well, Dear, what was it like being six again?”

Her eyes slowly opened and her expression suddenly changed. “I meant my dress size, you idiot!”

Review your conclusion to our questions before moving on to your next task today.

Bill Cosby video that is funny and shows how well he listens.  Video

Kevin Sharer video and interview about the importance of listening.  Link

Questions: Do you believe that listening is worth the effort?

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