Learning to Listen

By Clinton Jones

President of Central Park Toastmasters

I have always loved the sound of my own voice so I thought joining Toastmasters over 20 years ago would be a breeze, however I couldn’t have been more wrong about what I perceived Toastmasters was all about.

I soon learned that the Toastmasters organization placed as much emphasis on the skill of listening as they did on developing the skills associated with speaking more effectively.

As difficult as the listening skill was for me to develop and perfect I found that this one thing above all else that has contributed to my path of continuous improvement as a speaker and more importantly as a person.

As Toastmasters we are all aware of how vitally important the Evaluation process is to our ongoing growth and development as we move through our prepared speech manuals and have a crack at table topics and the fulfilling the various roles in our club meetings.

Central to the Evaluation role is our ability to listen and this skill can never be underestimated. It is a skill that will serve you well in your business and private life as well. It will enhance your ability to manage staff and family situations whilst giving you the vital time you need to provide objective feedback and advice.

So next time you are wondering why you have two ears and one mouth stop because there is a very good reason…as a professional Toastmaster you are learning to LISTEN twice as much as you talk!

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