Active Listening Without the Pressure

Active listening is a tremendous skill to develop.

The implicit promise is that, if done right, you’ll know exactly what motivates people. How their personalities work. And how to quickly build rapport and develop relationships.

But that’s a lot of pressure, to be listening so much.

It also takes a lot of practice. It’s worthwhile, and you should do it.

If your goal is to sell your expertise more effectively or just be a more effective human, you really do need to listen and be good at it.

The reason is simple: listening is the only way you can know what people actually want. Otherwise you’re making a guess, and it turns out we’re all pretty bad at that game.

Becoming a talented active listener will take years of focused practice. But you can start now by doing something much simpler: just listen.

The inverse of this is “just talk.” By definition, that can’t be the path to active listening.

You can’t become an active listener overnight. But you can talk less, and listen more. Start there.