How You can become a good listener in 5 Steps- Be it on the phone, in person or being with speakers
1. Tell Yourself You Will Listen
It's not that you are bad at listening, its just that while you are listening you are also thinking.
Most likely you are thinking about what your response should be the speaker but sometimes, your maybe be thinking about a different topic altogether. This happens if you are not interested in the speaker's topic, or have a personal dislike for the speaker or just have too many things to do and hence see the current conversation as a time-waster.
So the first and foremost rule is that you choose to listen and you tell yourself that you will listen.
then focus at the speaker and the message.
2. Stop Doing Anything Else
If you have something else or something more important or urgent to do, re-schedule the conversation.
Ask the speaker if it would be ok to do this later.
If however you choose to listen, then stop doing everything else.
Stop looking at your phone, typing or watching tv.
Look at the speaker and listen.
3. Turn Off Distractions
I tell people who answer their phones in the middle of our conversation, 'I think i'll call you next time'
Here is someone who is in front of you, conversing, sharing something important (we all like to think what we say is important) and all it takes to get your attention is a phone ring.
Turn it to silent.
Tell your secretary to hold calls and visitors.
Turn the computer screen to blank.
4. Take Notes
You have a brilliant memory and you have never needed to take notes.
great. Now take notes.
The obvious benefit is that you will have key points of the talk available to you on a later date and of course, you will not need to remember everything immediately.
But there are some benefits for the speaker too.
It makes the speaker slow down. since you cant write as fast as they speak, they will slow down to your speed.
This will give you more time to understand and question if required.
The second benefit for the speaker is that he/she will think you take their talk seriously.
I suggest you always do it, but overall if there are
times when you don't, then this will give the required effect.
5. Repeat and Confirm
A simple, 'let me see if I understand you correctly. you said '.....' and you want me to do '....'
that should do it.
Any clarifications will come from the speaker.
They will go back knowing you care and will tell a lot of people what a good listener you are.
There you have it. 5 easy and effective methods/ideas to help you become a better listener.
There are some additional notes, like empathy and a willingness to understand before getting the other person to understand you (Steven Covey calls it 'Seek to understand, then to be understood).
If there are any other ideas/methods/tips that you have experienced please do leave them in the comments.
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