Try Listening

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.

Ernest Hemingway

Stop trying to win.

Ask for people's opinions.

Why? Because you should seek the truth. Conversation shouldn't serve to convince others, but to challenge your own assumptions.

When you win a conversation, you lose an opportunity to learn. People like you less, want to talk to you less, and withhold information to avoid debate.

Why else? Because you have so much to learn. This might appeal to some of you, less for others.
There's something to learn from everyone, regardless of the topic. Avoid Dunning-Kruger at all costs, don't be a dilettante, humble yourself.

For those of you who don't care about self-improvement, consider this: people will respect you more. Nobody will walk away from a conversation with you feeling annoyed if you just listen. They will view you as a great conversationalist, thoughtful, insightful.

Asking questions is the purest form of flattery, and it requires minimal effort.

Spend your energy understanding.

Every time I stop talking, I'm always grateful I did. My staunchest ideas are dispelled and replaced with better ones. My notions are invalidated, and I'm given food for thought. I may feel dull mid-conversation, but I end up more knowledgeable the next day.

A suggestion: next time you are talking to someone, notice how much you try to talk.

How much time do you spend thinking about your next point? How much time do you spend trying to get words in? How much time do you spend thinking of rebuttals?

Have you registered, much less understood, what your friend said?

Just be quiet.

I challenge you to think about how much you've actually gained from conversation in the last year. The likelihood for most people is: you've mentioned the same things, learned little, and spewed a lot of hot air.

Maybe it's time to shut up and listen.