Self-Control: The secret to successful speaking & listening

Technology allows us to communicate faster, more frequently, and to a wider audience. But who’s listening? The more we communicate, the harder it is to listen well—to focus on one person and their words. This is where self-control comes in—being able to pause yourself, and focus on the speaker and what they’re saying.

Do You Listen Well? Being well-listened to is better than a massage or wonderful vacation. Ok, those are better, but you get my point. Feeling listened to is the reason people pay big bucks for therapy, and why we seek friendships.

  • Do you listen without interrupting or checking your messages?
  • Do you listen for what the speaker wants, and/or what they want from you? (They may be asking for feedback, support, direction, honesty, reassurance or information.)
  • Do you listen to what’s not being said?
  • Do you try to understand the speaker’s feelings (without taking them on yourself)?

Self-control is a vital life skill, one of the greatest gifts parents can teach their kids. When we add self-control to conversations and speeches we model efficient respectful communication, and teach those skills to others.

Do You Speak Well? Self-control means asking these questions before you speak:

  • Why am I speaking; what purpose does this support?
  • Is this important—worth someone’s life moments?
  • Am I treating my listener with respect, and speaking with integrity?