For your listening pleasure….
Every single day, we have dozens of interactions with the people around us. Whether it be with friends, professors, colleagues, etc., in every conversation there is the potential to learn something- if you can catch it, that is. Personally, I go into every interaction with a plan, and that plan is to find out as much as possible about the other person without saying much about myself. That way, I am maximizing the amount I’m able to pick up about the other person without giving anything up myself.
You may be wondering, why do I do this?. The answer is simple; I want to learn more about you. I already know everything about myself so why waste my time talking about it? Rather, I am going to ask tons of questions and just listen the whole time. Incidentally, this is also a great way to make friends, as people really value a person with great listening skills.
Why not contribute to the conversation and talk about myself though? The way I see it, the less everyone knows about me the better. You will never see me complaining about anything in my personal life through social media, nor see me spilling my heart to an acquaintance at the bar. As a person who is in shape, there are a lot of pre-conceived notions about me, one of them being that I am a “meat head”. Go right ahead and think that… It doesn’t bother me at all. Frankly, I enjoy it, as it gives me a bit of an advantage. I would prefer most people underestimate me so I can surprise them with my capabilities and potential rather than have them already realize these things. As stated in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, “In any battle the element of surprise can provide an overwhelming advantage”. In the battle to find a job upon graduation, I plan on using this element to its’ fullest.
So what is there to gain with implementing this strategy?
1.You learn everything about the people around you
2.The people around you like and trust you because you are a great listener
3.Nothing has been revealed about yourself
I love using the analogy of a poker game to explain this a bit clearer: Poker is a very easy game to win when you know the cards everyone around you is holding. Poker is even easier to win when no one knows the cards you have. The only time you show your cards in poker is when you win the game, and I have a long way to go until my cards are on the table.
Lets not forget we were given 1 mouth and 2 ears for a reason. So listen up and always say less than necessary.