“What did he/she just say?”
This is a question I ask myself far too often. I constantly find myself not listening to what someone is saying to me. This can lead to embarrassing situations, say, if your boss is talking to you about the next step in a project or if your girlfriend/boyfriend told you multiple times to do something and you keep forgetting. Let’s first discuss the benefits of listening effectively in both your personal life and your work life.
Listening effectively in your personal relationships can help build trust, resolve conflicts, avoid boring/lingering conversations, find new perspectives on your relationships, make you more appreciated, and strengthen any and all relationships. Listening effectively in your work life can help you inspire people, build patience, see new ways to solve problems, develop new insights, and can make people respect you.
So how can one become a better listener to avoid awkward situations and improve themselves with impressive great new listening skills?
- Ask interesting questions so you have something interesting to listen to when they are answered.
- Do NOT interrupt someone when they are talking to you.
- Actually pay attention! There is a difference between hearing and listening.
- Take time to think about your response and give a genuine answer. This will improve the conversation and improve your listening.
- Show interest by nodding or matching their emotion levels.
- Don’t text, take calls, or check social media… just don’t look at your phone. It’s rude.
- If you’re in a meeting: be organized, prepared, and follow any instructions given. This will help you listen because you won’t be distracted doing something else.
By following these steps, you can become a better listener, therefore improving your relationships. Furthermore, listening more effectively can greatly increase your productivity, organization, and boost your professional career.
Listening is an incredible skill to have that is so often overlooked. Start listening and start seeing changes!