In our culture it isn’t a priority.
We’re moving quickly. Focusing on productivity and getting as much done in one day as possible. We’re always rushing.
But learning to listen can improve your productivity, keep you connected.
We have constant pressure at work and at home. Our mind is a 24/7 ‘to do’ list. We’ve become masters of multi-tasking.
We catch ourselves listening to others halfheartedly, especially family and close friends. Once in a while, we remember the close relationships we had in college. No matter how hectic our schedules were, we made time to listen to each other.
We slowed down. Had a conversation. And connected.
Today we feel isolated and disconnected. We want to make changes but don’t know how.
Learning to listen is a solution.
Listening is one of the most important skills to have. It has an impact on the quality of your relationships with others. It effects how well you do in your job.
The good news is that listening is a habit that can be taught.
The way to improve is by practicing ‘active listening’.
Here is how to learn to listen:
- When you’re talking with someone, listen 100%.
- Give the speaker your undivided attention. Look at her directly, always maintaining eye contact. When your mind begins to wander, re-focus on what she’s saying.
- Be quiet except for the occasional ‘yes’ and ‘uh huh’. Show you’re listening through your body language. Soften your facial expressions and make sure your body is inviting and open.
- When the speaker has finished, pause before speaking. Respond in a calm, non-judgmental manner, with respect and understanding.
- Reflect back to the speaker what you heard. Be candid and honest and feel free to ask questions. But keep your response short and to the point.
- Then be quiet. Let the speaker take the floor again. If she doesn’t, prompt her to do so by asking a question.
- When the conversation comes to an end, continue to maintain eye contact. Warmly thank the speaker for her time. Let her know that it has been a privilege to listen to what she has to say.
- The speaker will walk away feeling that she has been heard.
- Initially you may feel awkward. But you’ll also feel excited knowing that something new has taken place. You’re creating your own unique style of communicating.
- By practicing this exercise once a day for the first month, you’ll be developing a new habit. After a month, you’ll begin to think of yourself as a listener. Within a short time, you’ll morph into a natural active listener.
Now don’t you feel great?
**Want to share a listening experience that you’ve had? Have any learning to listen tips you’d like to share?