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Why You Should Listen More Than You Talk

A businesswoman is holding her hand up to her ear to listen carefully..When you lead a project you are going to have to do a lot of talking. People will want to hear what you have to say at team meetings and project meetings and your phone might ring a lot with questions and issues.

However, I always think that listening is just as important as talking, if not more so, and during the course of a project you should expect to listen a lot more than you talk for the following reasons.

To Find Out Alternative Points of View

You might think that you have the perfect way of doing everything but there is never any harm in listening to alternative points of view. This is especially true if you are lucky enough to have a strong and experienced team around you. A mediocre project manager might feel intimidated by having a good project team giving them excellent ideas but if you want to be a top notch leader then you should take advantage of this situation. Even the suggestions which aren’t all that good at first glance can help you by getting you thinking on a different track. I always enjoy having a left field thinker in the team because this kind of person can come up with the kind of idea which no one in the team would ever think of. In an ideal world you will have a team which has a wide mix of types of people and ways of thinking. This can make it fun to hear them bounce ideas off each other while you just sit back and listen to them. You shouldn’t feel afraid that people will think less of you if you don’t dominate the conversations and make sure that your point of view wins out. They will respect you more if you listen to other points of view and choose the correct one.

To Get Feedback

As your project progresses it is important that you get a good deal of feedback from your stakeholders, your boss and your team members. This is how you will know how well you are doing and what you need to improve on. The thing is, some people just make a little comment at a meeting which you could easily miss out on if you are too busy talking to pay attention to what they say. Every bit of feedback you get – both positive and negative – can be used to make you a better project manager so you shouldn’t miss any opportunity to receive some and put it to use.

To Not Try to Control Everything

Your job is to lead and manage the project but that doesn’t mean that you need to try and control everything. If you try and do this then you will probably bite off more than you can chew as well as leaver the other people on the project frustrated by not giving them a chance to contribute. Of course, you might not be making a conscious effort to control everything. However, if you do a lot of talking at all of the meetings then everyone else could be forgiven for thinking that you are wanting to be the only person who speaks during these meetings. It is far better to stick to what you need to do and give other people some space to contribute. You will feel better for having done this and getting a range of different voices heard in the meetings is sure to be of benefit to the project as well.

Let Your Team Members Grow

For this point let’s look at an example. You are running a workshop which is going to last for most of the day and which involves giving out a lot of information and maybe facilitating a brainstorming session. You could do all of this on your own but wouldn’t it be better to give one or two of your team members the chance to sink their teeth into some of the tasks? This could be fantastic for their personal development and will really help them grow in confidence if it goes well. It could also work out well for you if you take the opportunity to catch up on some other tasks and then rejoin the workshop when your presence is needed again. By giving your throat a rest for part of the day you will also have given out the impression to the attendees that you run a strong team in which everyone gets involved and knows what is happening.

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