Listening Skills, Tips – Listen as if Your Lifestyle Depended on it… IT DOES!
Insight from Cracking the Networking CODE by Dean Lindsay
“No man ever listened himself out of a job.” — Calvin Coolidge
Everyone has a need to speak and be heard, especially in the challenging business landscape we are presently in. To build truly priceless business relationships we need to treat others as if they are the most important people on the planet because – in their minds – they are.
Everyone wants to feel that they are significant and have meaningful ideas to share. Those who choose to really listen will always have someone to talk with. Notice that I wrote talk with, not talk to. The key is to: Turn people ON to you by tuning IN to them.
Good listeners absorb and reflect on what they hear. They are active in the listening process. This requires energy and motivation because listening is more than just hearing. We must become active listeners rather than passive hearers.
Often our motivation to actively listen is not all that high. We think we can get by without really focusing. This is a mistake. The ability to value what others say is critical to building priceless relationships. Be determined to understand completely what others are trying to communicate. It helps to collect our thoughts and focus only on present conversation.
How often do you catch yourself thinking about some unrelated issue when you should be listening? It is difficult to tune in when you’re preoccupied with previous conversations or unfinished tasks.
Business philosopher Jim Rohn is quoted as saying, “One of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is the gift of your attention.” Rohn is right. Don’t get distracted by other people’s nearby conversations. If you have to, walk the person you are speaking with to a quieter place in the room to have your initial chat.
Try this. Look directly at the person and when they stop speaking, count to two (in your mind!) before you speak. Committing to this brief pause:
A. helps you avoid interrupting the other person, who may have only paused to gather his or her thoughts.
B. establishes that what has just been shared was worth contemplation.
C. gives your brain time to digest the information and ask a good clarifying question or make a comment.
Good clarifying questions offer the person the chance to rephrase their thoughts and say precisely what they mean. Repeating back (as questions or tentative statements) what you think you’ve heard the other person say also makes people feel wonderful, and it avoids mind-misreading errors.
We also should be careful not to turn into an overanxious talker and overpower the fine folks in the dialogue and not letting anyone else talk. Active listening can help prevent this from happening. Think about it:
In the past, at the end of a conversation, did you tend to know more about the person, or did they learn more about you?
Discipline yourself to uttering no more than four sentences in a row without stopping. This ensures that others will have the opportunity to express themselves.
Two ears, one mouth. You know the saying.