Two ears and one mouth

Maybe it is cliché, maybe it is the first time you are hearing it, or reading it.  You have two ears and one mouth and you should at least, yes at least, use them in that proportion.  Meaning you should listen twice as much as you talk.  I would even go a step further and say you should listen three or four times as much as you talk.

Why should you listen more than you talk?

  • You learn more by listening than you do by talking.
  • You show the other person(s) that you want to hear what they have to say.
  • Your influence increases with that person the more they learn to trust that you care what they think.
  • Just as you do and I do, we love to talk about ourselves and share our stories.  So do others, so allow them to tell them to you them and see what happens with your influence.

Some of you may be thinking ok.  I will attempt to listen more than talk.  How do I do that.  If you want to have the most influence with others, you definitely want to listen more than you talk, but secondly to encourage the other person to talk about themselves. You can do this by asking questions.  Just ask questions of others, not in an interrogation way, but in a way that makes sense with the natural flow of the conversation.

Ex:  Its Monday morning.  Ask your colleague, your boss, your peer, what they did this weekend.  And just listen to them. I am sure you will want to respond to them and start saying what you did this weekend as well.  Refrain from doing so. Until you listen to them for a few minutes.  If they say the proverbial “nothing” ask a follow-up question like.  “You had to do something, did you stay inside and watch television?”

In your meetings this week at work do the same thing.  Instead of telling everyone what problems you are faced with in your department or in your job, listen to others and ask questions about their challenges and difficulties in their position.  As a leader or influencer, you will learn more and gain more by asking questions and listening than you doing all of the talking.

As I like to always say, the two ears and one mouth ratio is often known but seldom practiced.  I actually still have to make sure I am not dominating a conversation at times.  I am just consciously competent, when it comes to this.  To better understand the four consciousness states check out a previous blog on this topic at 

To your success and your future.



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