In this week’s #5MinMotivation, the challenge is set. Commit for one week to focus on listening in order to understand. Listening is the key to all effective communication. Without it, communication breaks down easily. Just because you heard something, doesn’t mean you were listening. At work or even at home, mastering this skill can make a huge difference in greatly improving your relationships and building trust.
Think about a conversation you recently had with someone who you felt wasn’t trying to understand what you were communicating. How did you feel? I bet frustration is one word that comes to mind. Now think of the reverse. Remember a time when you truly felt understood? When you felt that someone truly got what you were trying to tell them. That how you felt about a topic was important to someone else. It didn’t even matter that both parties didn’t see eye to eye. What mattered was that despite the fact that you didn’t agree, it was still important for the other party to truly understand how you felt.
Was it easier to remember examples from those who didn’t understand than those who tried to take the time to understand? We tend to get caught up in action all the time. We live our life on fast forward trying to accomplish as many actions as possible. In our communication, we can sometimes be more concerned about getting our point across than understanding what the other person has to say.
Earlier in my career, I had a supervisor who had terrible communication skills. During our development conversations, he spent most of the time talking. I remember thinking, “how can he understand my development needs if he is the one always talking”? When I did get the chance to talk, I felt as though he was only waiting for me to stop in order to make his next point. The proof of my theory came often when he would ask me a question during the conversation that I had just answered previously. It was an extremely frustrating relationship and I did not feel like what I had to say was important.
[tweetthis]“I never learned anything while I was talking.” – Larry King[/tweetthis]
Next time you find yourself having a conversation with someone who is important to you, show them by truly listening.
Here are 6 Tips To Help You Truly Listen:
- Commit and decide that you will try to understand what the other person is saying.
- Don’t talk, listen and remember that pauses don’t necessarily mean the other person is finished.
- Look the person in the eye and gain clarity of the message by asking questions.
- When you want to interrupt, remember patience and keep listening.
- Remove any filters standing in the way of you understanding. It is not about how you see the situation but how the other person sees it.
- Pay attention to non verbal cues. Sometimes they speak louder than the words being spoken.
You will make significant deposits by truly taking the time to listen and understand. You might also be surprised at how much you can learn in the process, or in how many opportunities you may uncover. What is important to remember is to be authentic in how you communicate. Let the reason you take the time to understand be because you truly want to understand. Any other reason and it will show through.
Have you known a great communicator in your life? What about the opposite?
This post is part the first of a new series that I am doing. Our lives can get pretty hectic and it can be easy to get lost in our actions. When we are so focused on what is ahead, we forget to pause, reflect and find ways to energize our minds. These 5-minute motivation posts are meant to give you that recharge. The goal is to give you a 5-minute Vitamin for your mind through quotes, posts and videos. It is also meant to challenge your thinking and inspire you to take action.
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