We are often consumed with ourselves and our ideas that we pay little and sometimes no attention to other people. However great listeners make better decisions, avoid conflicts, learn more and have better relationships. Listening is an art and it follows certain principles. Here are 4 ways you can improve your listening today and forever:
Stay on course
You have encountered someone who in the middle of listening interrupts you or even changes the subject. I have caught myself do both in some instances. Quickly I like to apologize and request the other person to proceed when this happens. When you interrupt or change the subject abruptly it makes the other person feel their ideas or story is less important.
Listen to learn
Usually, the motive for listening impacts how much you will understand or remember from the conversation. Think of listening as an opportunity to learn. To learn about the other person’s ideas, story, challenges or dreams.
Distractions will always be around; it may be someone walking in the corridor, or a phone ringing, a bird passing by or a neighbour sneezing. For you to fully listen, you have to choose to ignore these distractions.
Make an offer
When you have finished listening, what next? Do you offer unsolicited advice and feedback or does the conversation stay hanging in the air? An excellent listener will always ask the other party whether they would like feedback or advice.
When you listen better, people will be compelled to share more information with you. What can you do today to improve your listening? Start Now.