You’ll meet people who know less than you in certain facets. The people you interact with may not know that you used to study the piano as a child, and just how wrong they are in their discourse of music theory. Some may not have any idea that you’re in fact a skilled computer coder while they attempt to teach you what you already know. People share knowledge for a variety of returns they perceive to benefit themselves. Some may share knowledge for financial reward, some may enjoy the pride of being seen as knowledgeable, and some thoroughly attempt to help others out.
This article is about allowing others to share their knowledge to their heart’s content. There will always be people who know more than we do, and whom we know more than. We can sometimes get inpatient listening to the things that we already know, and our need to express our own understanding of things can take over. Below, are reasons for why you should allow others to share their knowledge, whatever the scope of it is, with you and those around you. Though it may not seem like it at the time, doing so can benefit you in the long run.
Active Listening: The Feeling of Importance and Validation
Attentive listening makes the person speaking feel important. When it is your time to speak, make it concise and make it relate to the points raised by the other. In terms of getting people on your side, it is more effective to play into the need for people to feel important, rather than to prove any point that you have to prove through speaking – no matter how important you feel the point is.
The act of someone allowing us to speak on a particular subject while taking our discourse seriously, gives us a perceived sense of validation. We feel validated in our experience, knowledge, and study. For instance, the more people who read this article, the more validated its author will feel in their attempts to spread what they consider to be true. In return, anyone who adds onto to this material, or counters it with points of their own, will be treated with open mindedness by the author. The author will feel heard, and will perceive to be accepted by those who read this article.
Validating those who attempt to share their knowledge will encourage them to respect your additions to the discourse. Though you may go on to disagree or correct them, the open mindedness you show them early on, will be returned right back to you. Rather than propagating a cycle of close minded disagreement, you serve to get the ball of open minded understanding rolling. The hardest part of softening people up to continue onto pleasant dialogue, is listening to things we believe to be untrue. Validate others’ attempts to spread their knowledge, and your conversations will be more pleasant to be a part of.
Avoid playing into the need to be heard, but rather, abide by the need to address what you hear. The latter, depends on fully hearing people out. If your goal is to change someone’s mind, being an accurate counter-puncher is more effective in getting people to change their mind than being a brawler with your words. Even when in an argument or debate, listening fully should take precedent. Listening to argumentative words against you will allow you to pick up on weaknesses and exploit them surgically. Listen with all intent to listen, and avoid the internal dialogue that plans for the next thing that you will say.
Social Skills Call for a Release of Pressure
Let’s pretend that you disagree with something that’s written above. Perhaps you disagree with the notion that you should err on the side of allowing others to share what they know. Perhaps sometimes, you may consider cutting someone off to be beneficial for all involved. What would this disagreement drive you to do and think? Would you continue reading what’s below? Would you allow the author of this article to share their knowledge even though you may know more than them?
There is a pressure that builds up when we either disagree with, or know more than, the people who are attempting to educate us. This pressure serves to make us want to interject. It makes us want to to either shape the conversation to align with our own knowledge, or to exit the conversation altogether. This same pressure exists in those who aren’t given the opportunity to share their knowledge. Should you cut someone off and present the “facts” of the matter at hand, a pressure within them to be heard will begin to grow. Notwithstanding who is right or wrong, their desire to spread what they know becomes suppressed when you don’t listen to them fully. That desire will drive them to look for holes in your knowledge, in an effort to return back to being in control. That desire will make them want to one up your statements, it’ll make them want to regain the label of being knowledgeable and in tune.
Allow those you speak with to release the pressure that their perceived knowledge builds up within them. As they go on to teach you what you may already know or disagree with, they’ll slowly grow a desire to let you chime in. Their release of the pressure that being in the know builds up will give birth to a desire for them to listen.
A final, and rather obvious perk of hearing people out in full, is the ability to test our knowledge against everything they’ve got. Perhaps they misspeak early on in the conversation and go on to redeem our perception of how much they know. Perhaps we learn of evidence that proves our own perceived knowledge to be incorrect.
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