One Habit All Great Communicators Share

Have you ever found yourself completing another person’s sentence? Do you start to answer a question before it has been asked? How effective is this type of communication? Not very.

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?

Proactive Listeners

  • 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?”

Reactive Listeners

  • 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.

Denise O'Berry

Denise O’Berry — aka the Team Doc — has been working with teams and team leadership in the public, non profit and private sectors for over twenty years. Follow her @askteamdoc.

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  • http://twitter.com/evarykr Eva Rykr

    Nice reminder Denise! I think part of the problem is that we are more rewarded by others for speaking than for listening.

    [Reply]

    deniseoberry Reply:

    Thanks Eva. Yep, that’s the ticket. We repeat what we are rewarded for. And we’re all just human, aren’t we?

    [Reply]

  • http://www.theposwarehouse.com/ Quickbooks Enterprise

    I do agree with this article. It is really good to listen first and clarify things before you give your comment to anyone. I found this quote from Wilson Mizner, “A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while, he knows something.” I think someone might look more intelligent when he just listen than to speak without even knowing the whole story which can make him an idiot. So the lessons are listen first before you speak and to gain more friends, be a good listener.

    [Reply]

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