Listen To Persuade
“Too often we want to help people with what we know instead of caring for them because of who they are.” (John Maxwell). “One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears – by listening to them” (Dean Rusk).
Those two quotes caught my attention. They caused me to think that the way we want to care for others is by letting them know what we know. We do that by talking. Talking too much. Whereas, if we listened, we would be much persuasive. By listening we say, “I care who you are.” “Be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath (James 1:19). “Let no one seek his own, but each one the others’ s wellbeing,” Paul said (1 Cor. 10:23). One way we can seek the wellbeing of another is by being swift to hear. Listening!
I remember when Kam was in school in Florida. She called home one day and was very upset. I talked to her for thirty minutes and got nowhere. I handed the phone to her mother and in five minutes she was saying, “good-by, love you”.” I asked Jody, "What did you do?" She said, “She only wanted you to listen.” On the other hand, I was going to let Kam know what I know. All she wanted was for me to care for her because of who she was. She simply wanted me to listen. I did not make that mistake twice. So, the next time she called I asked, “Do you want me to be daddy and solve the problem or just listen?”
When people come to us with a problem or just to talk, they do not want to know what we know. They simply want us to care for them because of who they are. Listening will be much more persuasive for being able to help than trying to talk through them. If I am going to pick any one thing to improve it would be listening with care. On those occasions when I have, the problem worked itself out. Amazingly, without me letting the other person know what I know. Even when someone comes to me and has a story to tell they are not interested in whether I have a similar story. All they want is for me to care enough for who they are to listen to their story.
I read where a man came to his friend with great burdens. The man with the burdens talked for hours. His friend did not say a word. After a few hours, the friend with burdens left. When he left, he told his friend, who had been quiet the whole time, “Thank you for your advice. It was very helpful. You really helped lift my burdens.” As the friend walked away the man thought to himself, “I didn’t say a word. I just said sat for hours listening to him.” The friend who said not a word was more persuasive than a man who would have told the burdened friend what he knew. The friend simply cared for who his friend really was. His ears helped lift the burden all his knowledge could not.
So, try it. Listen and show care by listening. Let us see if we are not more persuasive with ears than tell what we know.