For many years I traveled to New York City twice a year to work with a corporate client. Each time I was able to see a Broadway show – seeing the original cast in Hamilton definitely ranks at or near the top of my list – dine at my favorite eateries and discover some new ones, and just spend time walking the streets of the city that never sleeps. Many years ago I lived in New York and New Jersey for a year and a half and visiting there allows me to relive my past while simultaneously embracing the future.
These trips were also an excellent opportunity for me to get to know some of my online friends, clients, and colleagues more personally. I would invite myself to stay over one night at their home, giving us the afternoon and evening before as well as the following day until I would make my way back into New York City to do my final work for the client. Over more than a decade only two people turned me down for different reasons, neither of which I thought was valid. Each person I reached out to knew I could help them immeasurably by spending this time with them in person, but some people are not open to that possibility so I had to let it go.
It was while I was staying with a client at her home in Connecticut that I came to the conclusion that silence is indeed golden. Her husband had returned home after a long day at his office. With him were their two ‘tween sons. Introductions were made and we all sat down in the living room before dinner. Someone asked me what I thought about something and I launched into my spiel on how entrepreneurship was the answer to almost everything. Then I stopped mid sentence and took a breath.
I was standing up while all of them were still seated and I don’t even remember getting out of my chair. I looked down at each of their faces and realized I was behaving as though I were speaking at a marketing or other type of event. They were listening, attentively and politely but their expressions told me exactly what I needed to know: I needed to stop talking.
Once I did so a whole new world opened up for me. I learned things about each person I would not have known otherwise. They shared snippets of stories that were meaningful to them and I encouraged them to elaborate and continue. Everyone also relaxed more around me during our time together. I’m an introvert and find it slightly uncomfortable and awkward to be around people for too long a time. But if I am meeting them for the very first time it is even more difficult for me. Perhaps I was engaging in “nervous chatter” in order to relax a bit myself.
What Happens When You Stop Talking and Start Listening?
Another thing that occurred once I decided to stop talking and start listening was that I made space to dig deeper with the client or colleague I was there to spend time with during that trip. The silence was golden in that each of us could finally hear ourselves think long enough to formulate our thoughts and ideas and share with the other.
Now I approach masterminding and mentoring in a new way. It’s like I have reinvented myself when it comes to spending time with people with whom I have so much in common when it comes to having the goal of success as an entrepreneur and author, time freedom, and financial freedom to live the life you choose each day.
When you stop talking and start listening the magic of a full and prosperous life opens itself up to you, beckoning you to move closer to what you do want and further away from that you do not want.
How to Begin With This “Stop Talking and Start Listening” Strategy
Recently I had lunch with a close friend whom I’ve known for many years. She had invited me to have lunch and then play nine holes of golf with her, even though she knows I am not a golfer. Karen is an extrovert and can talk me under the table any day of the week. On that day I decided to practice my new strategy and see how it would play out. I drove the cart to our starting spot and the game began.
Fifteen minutes into the game Karen asked me to stop the golf cart for a minute. I stopped, but she asked me to turn it off. I thought maybe she needed to go back to the Clubhouse or had forgotten to call someone important. She smiled at me and said,
“Alright, what’s going on? You haven’t said ten words and I feel like I’m talking to myself.”
I told her about my new strategy and how I was testing it out. Then I asked Karen what she thought about this. Her reply told me everything I needed to know. She said at first she was puzzled and thought something was wrong. But once she knew otherwise she liked the idea of having someone listen to her. She shared that she couldn’t remember the last time anyone listened to her and just let her talk about anything she wanted to share. Then she thanked me and gave me a hug. I didn’t say a word – I was too busy listening and enjoying the moment.
I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you are new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my comprehensive training on how to set up Funnels That Click and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.