Do you ever feel like you’re shouting out loud and no one is listening? Sometimes I do. With all the division we’re experiencing these days, people are screaming and yelling at each other but resist hearing the other side of the story.
It all comes down to having the ability to listen
But this isn’t about politics. It’s how the art of listening can affect us in our everyday lives.
- Do you listen to your spouse or are you too busy staring at your phone?
- Are you hearing what your children have to say or are you immediately judging them?
- Do you address the concerns of your customers and work to satisfy their needs or are you only focused on your bottom line?
- Is it we, you, you, or I, I, I?
Below are some of the keys to good listening:
It’s easy to jump in and interrupt when someone is talking to you. You get so excited about adding your thoughts to the mix you burst in and vomit them. Instead, take a breath and let the person finish their thought. Then, take another breath and add your two cents.
Are you a networking nitwit?
Have you ever been to a networking event for business? Have you seen someone nab the first person available and try to sell them on their product or services? There’s no better way to turn them off. When approaching someone you don’t know, start by asking them a question about themselves. Be authentically interested and then respond or ask more questions based on what they say.
Attempt to feel what the other person is feeling
Have empathy with their experience. Put yourself in their shoes. Try to understand why they feel the way they do. When you respond, reflect their feelings by acknowledging what they’ve said. “I understand why you may be angry. That must have been a stressful situation.”
Watch what isn’t being said
Non-verbal communication can speak volumes about the person you’re having a conversation with even if it’s over the phone. Listen to their intonations as they speak. You’ll be able to tell if they’re happy, sad, angry, or confused. Take cues from what you hear and see.
Body language in a face-to-face conversation is even more powerful. Are they making eye contact? Do they seem nervous or bored? The best listener is able to sense the atmosphere of a situation and react in sync.
Don’t offer solutions to their problem
Let the person you’re listening to voice their thoughts and emotions. Wait until they ask to hear your opinion rather than offer it immediately. Validate what they’re saying and let them know their thoughts are important.
A good listener has power
The key to negotiation is silence. “He who speaks first loses.”
Are you a good listener? Do you have any other tips on listening you’d like to offer? Please leave a comment below.