Do you ever feel like you’re shouting out loud and no one is listening? Sometimes I do. With so many distractions coming at us every day it’s easy not to pay attention and know what is actually happening around you.
It all comes down to having the ability to listen
Practicing the art of listening can make a huge difference in your life as far as relationships with others and the decisions you make.
- 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? There is always someone who will nab the first person available and try to sell them on their product or services. What they don’t realize, because they aren’t listening is that they are actually turning them off. Whenever you attempt a conversation with 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.
Be empathetic to what the other person is feeling
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 get a sense of the atmosphere and read the room or where a person is coming from.
Don’t offer solutions to their problem
Listen and allow a person 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.