Okay, by now it must be clear to you all that I love this type of stuff. Stay with me. One of the first non-fiction books I read was “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. It is the type of book that fires up your imagination and opens up new vistas in your mind. It is a true self-help classic.
I still remember many examples from this book and that’s a big accomplishment for a book I read almost 20 years ago. Of all the things I read in the book, one incident he talked about has remained etched in my memory – Dale Carnegie spends 1 hour with someone and during that time he speaks only for 5 min and the rest of the time was spent listening to the other person. In the end the other person tells Dale that he is a great conversationalist.
If ever you wanted a great example of listening skills , this is the one. Because of how counter intuitive this is – you talk less and listen more and you are a better conversationalist – this lesson never leaves my mind. I have applied this lesson many times and I found that not only do I become a better conversationalist but I also tend to learn more. Recently, I met an entrepreneur for 1.5 hours. She wanted some advice on Knowledge Management and a mutual friend had arranged the meeting.
In the 1.5 hours, I spoke at best for maybe 10-12 minutes at the maximum. She was explaining about how she started and how she grew the company rapidly in a short time etc. I found her story really fascinating and inspiring as well. I finshed the meeting and came home. A few days later I heard from the mutual friend that the entrepreneur was very impressed with my knowledge and she found the session very helpful!
I experienced the Dale Carnegie Aha moment yet again and I thought I’ll share it with you. The reason behind this is (I think), most people want to talk and but are seldom listened to. In sum, if you want to be a great conversationalist, listening serves you better.
What are your experiences in this area? Do you agree?