“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others” (Proverbs 12:15).
There is nothing more powerful then the ability to make others feel understood. Imagine the leverage you could have at your disposal if you could accomplish this level of active listening. To be understood is something we crave greatly. In our day in age, we have learned the opposite. Instead of enabling others to be heard, we have declared that their voice has little importance and our argument, beliefs, and actions are superior to theirs.
Part of the problem is our inability to FOCUS. Our voices demand attention and our technology has made it extraordinarily easy for us to communicate. Though the problem still exists, I believe we can master the skill of Active Listening.
Here are three BIG ideas to get you started in the right direction:
1 – Poor listening rejects; good listening embraces.
In my personal life, I have gone through many challenges to become a better listener. Some were embarrassing while others were educational. Still, I firmly believe we will always achieve a sense of inner peace when we shut the noise out and listen. Poor listening rejects ideas, opportunities, and fulfilling relationships with the people we love. Good listening embraces the idea of empathy. What are they feeling? How are their emotions being projected through their body language?
2 – There is wisdom in listening.
Great listeners understand how to build the potential in others. When I want to lean in and understand someone deeply, I mimic their breathing. This allows me to feel what they are feeling, see what they are seeing, and communicate appropriately. How are you using the information being received? Are you communicating effectively? Could you improve? How?
3 – Don’t repeat yourself.
I can recall many times when I felt the need to repeat myself. It’s a hard habit to break, but through perseverance and determination I believe this is no longer an issue for me (at least I’ve been told). We have so many communication habits that inhibit our listening, that unless we do something about it – we will never really reach our potential to have powerful and influential relationships. Repeating yourself unless asked to is condescending. Don’t repeat yourself, it will undermine your status and will affect your ability to build rapport. Is this a habit you need to break? How are you performing? Ask the people you trust for honest feedback.