Someone once asked me to list all the people in my life who I highly respected. Then they asked, "What do all those people have in common?"
The common thread surprised me; they were extraordinary listeners. From a professor in design school to a woman who discipled me, they all had amazing things to share with me and teach me – that's for sure. But they were intent on hearing my words and digging beneath them to the heart of the matter. So their words were apt – their advice spot on.
Now I realize that the people I respect the least are those who prefer to "broadcast" instead of listen. It's considerate to listen and it makes people feel valued. We do this not only in conversation, but in our businesses. In our marketing and emails.
How can we listen to those around us more? Whether it's a coworker telling you about their mood for the day, or a customer voicing grievances – we have unlimited opportunities each day to listen and cut to the heart of the matter. By listening we can make our contributions to our industries and our people more valuable.