We all know how to listen and we’re all capable of doing it, however, unfortunately listening isn’t something that many of us do well.
We like to talk a lot
Too much talking and not enough listening plagues a lot of our conversations both at work and in our personal lives. We often put out a thought, ask a question or initiate a topic but before the other person has a chance to respond we give our own thoughts and answer our own questions. We like to talk about ourselves and our opinions, but we don’t always give others the opportunity to share theirs and when they do, are we really listening?
We’re thinking ahead
Here’s the second problem. When others are talking, we’re guilty of letting our brains run away with formulating our response instead of paying attention. We start to assume the rest of what they are going to say and focus on what we are going to say before the other person has finished.
We’re aiming to be quick-witted and we want a good comeback, but by jumping ahead and focusing on our own responses we often miss out on important information and signals.
How can you be a better listener?
Listening is a pretty simple concept, but if you want to improve your listening skills you will have to make a conscious effort to do so.
Next time you’re catching up with a friend or attending a meeting, make sure that you listen to everything. You want to take in every word, alongside their body language and tone of voice. Show them that you are listening by leaning forward or slightly towards them. Ensure that you don’t hijack the conversation by interrupting or cutting off part of their response.
You’ll build stronger relationships and be more successful if you can learn to really listen. Being a good listener will help you to build respect and credibility and it will help you to make better judgements and decisions.