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In group settings, people who talk more might be enchanting and seem more intelligent, but this is not always the case. When people speak less, it’s likely that they’re listening, absorbing what others around them are saying and doing. The ability to listen is an essential component of a creative mind, and it’s creativity that makes the best storytellers. Here are my top tips on how to become a better listener, and why it’s important. Who knows, you may want to speak less and listen more after reading this post.

Be aware
Whether you’re reading local and international news, learning about the latest functions on social media platforms, making sure you’re up to speed on the hottest topics of the moment, insights and unique storytelling angles don’t come up unless we have information at our disposal. Remember: words aren’t meaningless if they’re knowledgeable. The same goes with storytelling, especially in content marketing: it’s not quantity that matters, but quality. Be sure to always stay up-to-date with the things around us – you never know when you might need certain information. 

Be polite
Has someone ever stopped you in the middle of talking, or have you done it to someone else? It’s not only basic manners to talk in turn, but doing so might also help you see things from a different perspective, a mentality that is crucial when creating stories. Listening to someone else’s perspective might help you in future when you want to tell a brand story that you might not be able to relate to personally.

Welcome different opinions
We all have our own interests and preferences. I like dancing, you liking swimming, and someone else likes knitting. Are you happy to learn about things you might not be interested in? Some people may shut these windows of opportunity, choosing only to talk to people who have similar backgrounds and interests. Build a powerful knowledge database in your brain by opening yourself up to different opinions and ideas – after all, there’s no such thing as an expert in everything.

Keep reading
Reading is essential to developing a creative mind. By reading stories and opinions across literature and media, you can use the information that you absorb to create something new and truly your own – because you never know where the next creative spark will come from. Make sure you get your idea down, too, be it in a journal, through painting, or even writing a song. Knowing how to express your ideas is as important as formulating them.

Storytelling is crucial in the PR industry. But you need to know how to listen before you can start telling.

Related #PRTips: Express yourself: The art of storytelling