stop talking and start listening

9% writing, 16% reading, 30% speaking, and 45% listening

Have you ever had a conversation where the other person seems to be thinking more about their response to you than about what you are actually saying? I imagine you have. Most people have this experience regularly. There are many reasons for this. The most significant is that they want to talk rather than listen.

One of the reasons people are not listening to you is that you are not really listening to them. In addition to the negative consequences of someone thinking you are not listening, it is very difficult for you to customise your words if you are not absolutely clear on what they are saying.Asking questions that provide insight into what lies behind their words also requires listening.

Recent research found that humans spend 70 – 80% of their day communicating. Interestingly, only 45% of that time is spent listening. In other words, humans tend to spend more time talking, writing and reading than they spend listening, despite the fact that listening is arguably the most important skill in engaging another human being. Humans are far more engaged when you listen than when you talk.
Listening, in the context of personal engagement with customers is important for several reasons. :

  • It demonstrates genuine interest;
  • Establishes empathy
  • Facilitates feedback you can act on
  • Enables you to fine-tune your message
Research demonstrates that listening directly impacts on sales.
Better listening skills can result from:
  • Recognising that you don’t listen as closely as you can
  • Valuing listening and recognising the benefits
Skills development in terms of listening can follow on from:
  • Being fully in the moment
  • Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes
  • Looking for the key points being made
  • Practising  active listening
  • Developing sincere curiosity

RECOMMENDATION – Remember that we have two ears and just one mouth for a good reason. To engage successfully, it is more important to listen than talk. Place a higher priority on listening than talking!


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