Let’s face it. We all can be better listeners. I think we can all think of a situation or two…. or three (okay let’s be honest, many times) that we are distracted when someone is talking with us or we just don’t effectively listen to understand. We hear the words that someone is saying to us, but we are quick to respond or react, not giving someone ample opportunity to express what they want.
With the fast paced world we live in where many people are buried in their social media devices, I am finding that with some people, interpersonal communication is lacking.People want not only to be heard but also to be understood. -Cynthia Bazin Click To Tweet
We must realize that instead of blaming others for the lack of communication in this world, we must lead ourselves first and hope that others emulate what we do; that other people are inspired by the results we accomplish personally from doing something as simple as listening to others.
What results can we possibly get from listening effectively to others? These are some but not all of the possibilities:
- Discover things about people that we didn’t know beforehand.
- Better understand the struggles and needs of people.
- Receive awesome feedback on ourselves on what we do well at and what we can do better at.
So if you’re looking to make a greater impact personally and professionally, effective communication is key and intentionally listening to people is definitely one of the things to focus in on. Here are 4 ways to do this:
4 Ways To Be A More Effective Listener
- Stop Multitasking – In order to effectively and intentionally listen to others, we must stop multitasking. So when communicating with others, I encourage you to shut down your email and social media so you can fully focus in on a conversation. Also, do your best before talking to someone to clear your mind of other thoughts. It’s tough to do, but when you intentionally only focus in on the person in front of you, you’re more likely to pay attention and listen to understand what someone is telling you.
- Stop ‘Diagnosing’ At The Start of a Conversation – In order to be a more effective listener, do your best not to anticipate what someone is going to say. Again, this is tough to do, especially when you have known someone for a long time and it appears you know what they are going to say. Also, it’s hard to not judge someone when you’ve heard similar stories before, but it’s an important part of communication to not ‘diagnose’ and judge before the person you are talking with fully explains what they are telling you.
- Watch For Non-Verbal Communication – One of the best things you can do to be an effective listener is to watch for what people are not saying; non-verbal communication. If you are in front of a person, often you can learn a lot from their body language. This is a very in-depth subject (interpretation of body language) but for purposes of this blog, just be aware that non-verbal communication is highly important to consider.
- Do Not Fear Silence – As an investigator for over 21 years, one of the best tools I used in communication was the power of silence. Often we get uncomfortable when no one is saying anything. However, silence is a great pause for reflection so that the other person has time to gather their thoughts and to expand on what they are talking about. So when talking with someone, don’t be afraid of those pauses. Let silence be effective by allowing you to have a deeper conversation with the person in front of you.
I would love to hear from you on this important topic! We all can learn from each other. Which of the 4 ways to be a more effective listener resonates most with you? Do you do some of them or all of them well or are they a challenge for you? What other ways would you add that are effective in being a more intentional listener?
As I always say, we can always do better! Let’s make a commitment to be more effective listeners!
Cynthia provides mentoring services for men and women in the areas of Personal Development, Branding and Business Strategy. If you are looking to get laser focused in one or more of those areas, reach out to her for a consultation. Make this the year that you achieve your greatest happiness and success!