The truth is, effective communication comes from how we listen, not how we speak. Most of us are so wrapped up in our own lives, we find it boring and painful to let someone else talk. No matter what the topic is, the part of the conversation most of us really enjoy is when we are in the speaker role.
Poor listening can contribute to conflicts and misunderstandings. If you frequently find yourself in conflict with others, pay attention to your listening style. Are you a proactive or reactive listener?
- Really pay attention to what others are saying
- Sense the underlying feelings behind the words
- Validate assumptions by using clarifying statements such as, “What I heard you say was…” or “You’re saying…, right?”
- Formulate a response before others have completed their thought
- Respond based on their own internal dialogue
- Have discussions in their head when someone else is speaking
Few of us were actually taught how to listen. It certainly wasn’t a subject I had to pass to get out of school. But it’s one of the most critical skills you can have in the business world. The good news is that your listening skills can be improved with practice.
Your secret to success is in the word “listen.” When you rearrange the letters, it becomes the word “silent.”
To listen better, silence your mind, eliminate distractions and focus solely on the speaker. Become aware of how you listen, improve your listening habits and you’ll end up being that special someone everyone wants to talk to. Start today.