Just the other day, I was participating in a conference call; one of the parties on the call was in Mexico. For some reason, it carried a five-second delay when this person spoke. During the first few minutes of the call, our group kept talking over this individual as there was enough time to add comments before hearing what he had said. We eventually learned that the only way to communicate effectively was to become listeners more than speakers. “Wow” what a wonderful experience!
After hanging up, I thought how much easier it was to understand points of view with this delay. This forced us to concentrate on listening while communicating and made for brilliant conversation. I then really listened (novel idea) in my next conversation; this was face-to-face with someone in the office. It was much easier to understand their point of view by truly listening. You actually become active in the emotion naturally through this type of communication.
I realized how in our hurried world today we move through the process of communication, often forgetting the relationship with those with whom we speak. It really feels good to have a deep understanding while communicating. Oddly enough, the individual you listen to automatically becomes a better listener.
Here are a couple of ideas that, when added to active listening, will allow for an amazing transformation in your appreciation of what someone is telling you.
1) Don’t try to figure out what someone will say; think about what is being said.
2) Give the person who you are communicating with feedback acknowledging that you are listening. Clarify what it is you are hearing them say by asking questions.
3) Don’t bring to your conversation something you are preoccupied with. Put it aside while you are communicating.
4) As evidenced in our conference call, do not interrupt. If you disrupt, are you really listening? Wait after each comment to ensure those you are talking with are finished communicating.
5) Block out interruptions such as a call. You know how good you feel while talking with someone who ignores their phone while it is ringing. Do this, and you will be amazed at the person’s response you are talking with!
6) Look at who is talking with you straight in the eyes. Simple things which give the appearance of you listening create a better relationship with the person talking.