Are you a good listener? Have you ever experienced that you might have missed crucial information simply because you were not paying attention to what was being said? How do you feel when you are talking to someone and you notice that they do not listen attentively?
Successful communication consists of a yin and yang of listening and speaking. Most individuals are really good at one of them, either listening or speaking. By improving your skills in both listening and speaking you will significantly increase your capability to successfully communicate, especially in conflict situations.
“Speaking is silver, silence is gold.” – Swedish proverb
As beings, a fundamental need and desire of ours is being understood. However, in order for others to understand you, you first need to learn how to listen and understand them. In fact, when building relationships with others, the way that you listen – how – is just as important as what you have to say.
Listen to understand. If you want other people to understand you, you first need to truly listen to what they are communicating.
How you listen is key. To encourage communication and build meaningful connections, listen from other people’s perspectives. And remember, sometimes good listening is done with your eyes as well as your ears.
Learn to manage distractions. Articulate when you need to regain your focus (just say it!), jot down thoughts so that you won’t be distracted trying to remember them later, and if you are too exhausted to muster the energy to truly engage, postpone and reschedule.
Improve your listening. Give yourself credit for your current listening skills and be honest about the areas where you can improve – then set up a plan to work on those areas.
Good listening is definitely a win-win. Not only does good listening make others feel heard and understood, but it also gives you a deeper connection with people.