October 19, 2016

How Are YOUR Listening Skills?

As Stephen R. Covey wrote in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” A dialogue is an opportunity to learn, to see things from a new perspective, to open your eyes to new information and possibilities. Yet, too many people view conversations as a debate.


Why aren’t we good listeners? 

Too often, we aren’t focusing on the person who is speaking. We’re doing something else that divides our attention – looking at our phone, checking email, sorting through papers. Whatever it is, it’s taking a portion of your attention away from the person who is speaking. Multitasking is NOT a function of listening. Check out this article on the 8 Habits of Lousy Listeners. Do any of these sound familiar?

How can we become better listeners?

Make Eye Contact: Always make full eye contact with the person who is speaking with you. If you’re doing something else, stop and give them your full attention.

Have Open Body Language: When your body language is open – arms unfolded, relaxed – you are able to listen. When your body language is closed – arms folded, shoulders hunched – you become tense and don’t appear to be empathetic.

Don’t Fill the Gaps: Do you have to jump in if there’s a gap in the conversation? It’s okay to let the silence be. Give the other person a moment to gather their thoughts and finish what they have to say.

Focus On the Other Person: Let them get their point across before you form an opinion. Focus fully on what they are saying.

Good listening is an active proposition: Don’t just wait for the other person to finish so you can try to convince them your point of view is right. Take time to listen and understand what the other person is saying. You will develop a broader understanding of the situation and be able to help problem solve in a mutually beneficial way.

Are you too busy to listen? If you’re too busy, you’re probably only giving the other person half of your attention. The rest of your mind is on your phone, thinking about your next task, or off in la-la land. If you don’t have time to give the conversation your full attention, postpone it until you do.

Visit Success.com for a great infographic on listening skills.

Have a productive, successful day!

Karen Joseph | SEVEN Networking

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