Are You Listening?

From Rena Romano – thank you for this great information!
Ernest Hemingway nailed it in his quote. Most people never listen when others talk. I have to admit this is something I have struggled with. Studies show that we’re distracted or preoccupied during about 75 percent of our conversations.
Unlike Hemingway we now have more distractions than ever in this age of computers, cell phones, TV’s and car radios. Listening is a learned skill, and by becoming a better listener you can become an effective communicator and leader.

The following are 3 tips to help you become a skilled listener:

  1. Diminish distractions!  When someone is speaking simply turn off or put down any devices and turn towards them giving your full attention as they speak.  If you have a deadline to meet simply ask the person speaking if you can set a time to meet so that you can give your full attention.
  2. Ask questions vs. telling a person what to do.  It’s natural to want to help others by offering solutions, but most of the time a person just needs to vent and is not seeking advice.  If we offer solutions they may shut down. Listen then ask questions. It could help them solve the problem on their own without you giving any advice. You will receive more Thank You’s with this approach.
  3. Be patientAllow the speaker to finish speaking and let their words sink in before responding. This shows that you are genuinely listening and care what they have to say. According to Martin Friedman a therapist from California, this allows the speaker to consider what they just said as well as to clarify or change their thoughts. While making eye contact, the silence is actually an effective and empowering part of the listening process.You are telling them that they have something worthy to share, and that you are open and willing to understand them better.

Action Step: 

Start today and observe your listening habits.
Are you diminishing distractions?
Are you asking questions vs. telling?
Are you patient when others are speaking?
Listening is a learned skill.
Empower yourself and others by practicing these 3 steps to help you master the art of listening.

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”   ~ Ralph G. Nichols

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