Highly effective listening practices can lead to developing trust, building relationships, and creating a deeper understanding of the people around you.
Have you ever been involved in a conversation and the person you are speaking with continuously interrupts you? Perhaps all you want to do is unravel your thoughts after a hard days work, and the other person is nodding their head while scrolling through their smart phone. There are many scenario's to which we can relate to not being heard, or we me be guilty of doing the same to others. The fact is, listening is a skill set, it takes some inner reflection and work to develop this skill.
When we are listening waiting to give a response, we are truly not being present in the conversation, missing key elements to what is being said. Sometimes we have a personal agenda which can cloud our ability to understand at deeper levels; we may even be afraid that our minds may change, this limits our ability to be fully engaged in the conversation.
Dr. Stephen Covey discusses, in his book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," that the most effective technique of listening is empathic listening. Empathic listening is taking yourself out of your frame of reference and placing yourself in their frame of reference. So, how do we do this? One concept to adopt is realizing, that when we are truly listening to someone we don't have to agree or disagree; we can relieve ourselves of this burden and hold a space for the person we are listening too. As we listen, be aware of judgment, when judgment presents itself in our thoughts, we are no longer being curious, again we don't have to agree or disagree but just truly listen.
When we empathically listen, we listen with curiosity allowing the information to flow, and our level of understanding deepens. When it is time for our response, without interrupting the individual, we will have a well formulated response due to the undisturbed information that we have received. When we truly listen, we build trust, gain valuable information, and create a safe space for the other individual. Here are some other techniques:
Remember, listening is an active process, and the more we train ourselves to listen more effectively, the easier it will become.
Super Awesome Stuff!
Jeff Saal CPC, ELI-MP
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