It could be said that communication is the single most important aspect of successful relationships. If it were said, I would agree with it. Unfortunately it is not said enough, probably because of ineffective communication.

Often in our relationships with our spouse, friends or business associates, we are unclear in our communication, and in our listening. Usually, unclear communication comes from poor listening. Many people being formulating their response before the other person is even halfway through their message. It is obvious that they are not listening clearly, so how can they respond clearly?

I remember when I entered the illustrious field of sales. This lesson was lost on me in the early days. I would talk and talk, until I talked my way out the door. If I wasn’t talking, I was deciding what I was going to say next.

One day, as I prepared mentally in my mind how I was going to overcome the next objection, my client slipped in that he was going to buy. I didn’t hear him. I just started talking again until he interrupted me. Luckily he had been in sales for years, and explained to me that my ‘gift of gab’ was a wonderful gift, and it would be even better if I paid enough attention to this phrase:
“You were born with two ears and one mouth, so you should be listening twice as much as talking.”

He pointed out that he had already committed to buy, and I was still trying to “sell” him on the idea. He called this “overselling”, informing me that many sales are lost due to “overselling”. As I reflect on my career, I know that I have lost many sales – how many of these were lost because I was “overselling”? We all “oversell” from time to time in many of our conversations. Often in conversation, people are often more concerned with what they are saying, than what is being said to them. In order to expand and grow we need to listen. In order to determine the needs of others, we need to listen. In order to follow instructions, we need to listen. In order to be successful,we need to listen.

As you visit with friends and clients this week, remember to listen. Pay close attention to each word they say, I am sure you will learn something new and exciting!


  1. Grave on October 15, 2017 at 1:03 am

    Would absolutely love a speech map sample and breakdown!

  2. Tamara Fraser on October 20, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    So true! I recently had the experience of trying to explain to a customer service rep that I was not wanting their product and she could hardly wait for me to stop talking so she could explain to me why I had no right to feel that way. It was a tremendously frustrating experience! And I found myself even more upset then when I first called.

  3. Janis JAVA on June 17, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    When we talk, we are dominating. We are in control of the conversation!
    With self-focus, talking seems far more useful than listening… 🙁

    Thanks for great article, dear Eric! See you in Riga, Latvia soon!

  4. Justin on February 6, 2020 at 2:14 am

    So true Eric. It seems these days when having a conversation many people tend to not listen, and just wait for a pause in the conversation so they can talk. I’ve been guilty of it too, but I have gotten better at my conversation skills.

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