How familiar is this - you're in conversation with someone, they're telling you a story, in your head you're going I've got a better story than that. They take a mistimed breath and you seize the silence, jumping in with your own blistering anecdote. What's wrong with that? Humans thrive on story, have done since the cave folk were grunting at drawings in the dirt. It's ok to exchange stories as a way of connecting, sure. Except it's not. Well not if you want to change anything. That takes a different type of conversation, one with listening in it. Real listening.
The Seoul Government thinks listening is so important they built this ear outside their city hall. Anyone can drop in and tell them what they think, right into a giant red and white ear. Koreans are pretty clever so they've probably worked out that a government that listens to its people can really be quite powerful and perhaps even keep winning elections.
You see here's the thing, if you want to have influence, if you want to shape the thinking of a decision-maker, you have to know where they're coming from. You won't find that out while your ego is clambering around in your head and you're barking your opinions at them. They're never going to love your idea as much as you do so you have to find other ways to persuade them.
Start by paying attention to what they're into - do they like a good personal story or do they like hard data? If it's me, I zone out when people talk numbers of any kind, I zone back in when they talk ideas. What motivates them? What are their values? If you can't work this out by observing you can always ask. And listen to their answer.