Are You Listening?


“Young man, how can you learn by running your mouth?!” my English teacher asked me. An eighth grade student at Crest Hills Junior High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, I was notorious for talking too much in class. So, on this particular morning, my teacher had had enough.

“Stand here in front of the class until you have an answer!” I did exactly as I was instructed. I walked to the front of the classroom, as my classmates snickered, and stood trying to come up with a clever response.

I stood on my feet for the remaining thirty minutes of class until the bell rang. For the first time in my life, I was at a loss for words. I didn’t have an answer! Truth is I wasn’t learning anything about literature and writing,  so long as I was doing more talking than listening.


As a business owner/entrepreneur, why is listening so important? For one, listening enables you to gain understanding. If you’re not listening to the people who use your services, how will you know what they want?

Have you ever been in a conversation with an individual who didn’t seem to be listening. Perhaps they were looking at their cell phone, checking their emails, looking around, or even yawning. How did their lack of interest make you feel? It made you not want to talk to them, right? Maybe you even got upset.

Now, imagine one of your customers trying to explain their problem to you, but you’re preoccupied with other things. By not listening, they may feel you don’t respect or care about them, and will, more than likely, take their business elsewhere. On the other hand, by truly listening, you gain that person’s respect and trust.

Listening helps to resolve problems. Whatever products or services you may offer were created to solve certain problems. As an entrepreneur, part of your job is to find out if  what you’re offering will indeed solve a  particular prospect’s problem. The only way you’ll know for sure is by listening. You don’t want to discover later that valuable time was wasted.

Listening also enables you to work more effectively. If you carefully listen to what your prospect is saying, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done. However, if you’re not listening, you’re subject to waste countless hours and will fail to produce the necessary results for your customer/client. In other words, listening helps you avoid making mistakes, and when it comes to your business, those same mistakes may cost you money you can’t afford to lose.

Listening is an important key to get you to the next level. You can’t learn and understand how to get there if you’re not listening. It’s easy to become anxious and move prematurely because you think you’re ready. However, it’s wiser to be patient and gather all the information that will help you be successful first, before you find yourself back at square one.

“You can’t learn if you don’t listen” is one great lesson I learned from my English teacher Mrs. Lemon. It’s a lesson I will never forget. “How can you learn by running your mouth?!” You can’t! In order to learn, we all must listen! Are YOU listening?

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