Would You Like to Become a Better Listener in 8 Seconds?

Orginally posted @ Careers In Government

When you hear “8 Seconds” what sport do you think of?

The photo above kind of gives the answer away doesn’t it?

For a Bull Rider to have a qualified ride they have to stay on the bull for 8 seconds.  For a Bull Rider those 8 seconds seem like an eternity!  If you have ever watched the sport, even for a few minutes, you know that something like 80% of all Bull Riders are bucked off their bull in less than 8 seconds.  And we are talking about professional bull riders – not you or me getting on a bull for our first time.

You are probably wondering, “What does Bull Riding have to do with Listening?”

I am glad you asked!

Research shows that when the average person asks a question they only wait 2-3 seconds for the person to answer.  If the person they asked the question of doesn’t answer in 2 or 3 seconds they either re-ask the question or ask another question or answer the question themselves or just move on with the conversation.  And the curious thing is that they do this with no awareness of what they have just done.

The “Silence” is so deafening to them that they simply have to fill the “Silence” with words!  They cannot give the person they asked more than 2-3 seconds to respond!  i.e  Waiting 8 seconds for an answer would seem like an eternity.

But now – You are no longer unaware!  Next time you ask a great question – give the person you asked the “Gift of Silence” – Ask your question and then relax – keep comfortable, but not intense eye contact and count silently to yourself, ‘One thousand one, One thousand two, One Thousand three……….One thousand eight”  There are times that I have counted to “One thousand thirty.”    The longer the silence the better their answer.  They will answer!

Research shows that the average person needs at least 8 seconds when asked a great question to formulate an answer!

Now of course if I was in your home or office and asked, “Which way to the rest room?” you would answer almost instantly.  But if I  asked you, “What would you say has been one of your greatest failures that actually has led to one of your greatest successes?” –  if you have never been asked that question before it is unlikely that you will be able to answer in 2-3 seconds.  But if I give you the time you need to think – I will be the beneficiary of some incredible wisdom!

So, YES!  You can become a better listener in 8 seconds – simply by asking your question and then counting to yourself up to at least “One thousand eight!”


Bob Tiede


Bob has been on the staff of Cru for 52 years. He currently serves on the U.S. Leadership Development Team and is passionate about seeing leaders grow and multiply their effectiveness. Bob and his wife, Sherry, live in Plano, TX and are blessed with 4 incredible children and 8 remarkable grandchildren.


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