If You Want Influence, Listen Up!

There’s an old saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, meaning that the most talkative person somehow gets rewarded. At work, this often translates to the loudest person having the most input during meetings, much to the irritation of quieter folks. Well, it turns out that “input” is not the same as “influence.” New research shows that good listeners are more influential than good talkers.

In a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, former co-workers rated participants on measures of influence, verbal expression, and listening behavior. Results showed that people who were good listeners were seen as more influential than expressive talkers. The authors concluded that listening helps people obtain information and build trust, both of which increase a person’s influence.

Listening and influence are two of the skills developed through TRACOM’s Behavioral EQ Model.  It turns out they’re integrally related, so working on listening can also pay off with increased influence. So pay close attention to others!

* Ames, D., Benjamin-Maissen, L., & Brockner, J. (2012). The role of listening in interpersonal influence. Journal of Research in Personality. 46(3), 345-349.