Listening is critical. Don’t you find it surprising how few people actually listen? Maybe in my life I have found a dozen people who have really listened to me, and it changed my life.
Everyday I am faced with dealing with the results of people who did not listen to me. It is common at work for people to not listen. It seems to be the norm that people act as though they hear what you say, but then time shows that is not the case. For example, I had a coworker I told a fact, and then asked him to fix that fact. A week later I asked again, and he talked to me. He thought that the fact only affected me, but I reminded me that we had a conversation and other members were affected by the fact. This could have been avoided if he had been listening in the first place.
I understand that people forget. However if you are someone who forgets things, then you need to have a system in place to remember things. Lots of people try to be clever and assume they can remember things. Just take notes, or write it down and that will impress your coworkers much more. This is not to criticize this person, but to share that our thoughtlessness makes life harder for other people.
How does listening change someones life? When someone has listened to me it does so many things. It shows that they want to know me and value me, they generally are not judging me (or if they are they are sympathetic), they want to learn and grow. All of those are rare and valuable gifts to me. We all hate to be judged, yet it seems almost the rule that we judge others. I am not perfect, but the less I judge, the happier I am. Listening helps me to judge less, and judging less helps me to listen. A vicious circle isn’t it? :)
The people who listen give us space to discover ourselves. Maybe this is a gift you can give someone else by listening to them?