"Listen with your Mouth and talk with your Ears"
The importance of listening can’t really be stressed enough, especially today.
My dad the late great Pedro Lopez Sr. would always tell me that the best listeners don’t listen while waiting to speak, the best listen, listen again, digest what was said, then speak.
It was instilled in me to be a good listener from very early on.
So how do you become a better listener?
1. Think about the people you’re with rather than yourself.
Your capacity to hear them – and I mean really hear them – is amplified when you’re not concentrated on something in your own life. It sharpens your quickness to hear when all the problems and drama from your own life aren't in the forefront of your mind. Listening helps you define their moment, not yours.
2. Don't Interrupt.
When my son had a stuttering issue, I was told that if I let him finish his sentences and thoughts without interrupting, it would help him to feel like a fully expressive human being. It was important for me to hear him, to hear what things meant to him, and how he expressed his view of the world through his own voice. Listening is how you understand people. So talk less, and listen more. Just listen. Leave your egos, problems, and desire to steer a conversation at the door.
3. You’re not that important
We live in a culture of ME, where we’re taught that our own problems are the most important, and we reflect that behavior in everyday lives by not hearing people. Even sales people – they don’t call to listen to you, they call to sell a product by any means necessary.
So the next time you’re out with a friend, or the next time you run into a kind stranger… stop, listen. Maybe something you never expected will happen, maybe a new respect will build for the people you’d always heard but never listened to.