I feel that someone who is a good listener has an extreme competitive advantage over others. As the old saying goes “We were given two ears but only one mouth.” “This is because God knew that listening was twice as hard as talking.” My question to you fine LinkedIn users are what are some of the things you do to pratice good listening skills? AND what are some of the things you do/say to get people to listen to you? This is so important in business (and personal) and something I would like to pick your brains on………..
My Answer :
My communication skills teacher at the finishing school I attended said “Listening is NOT hearing.Hearing is physical but listening is following and understanding the sound-it is hearing with a purpose”
Some of the things I conscientiously follow are
-Remove all distractions. Give the speaker one hundred percent of your attention. Turn off cell phones, do not let your eyes wander about looking for a break and politely brush aside any interruptions such as waiters or people who suddenly spot you and want to say hello.
-Listening is about creating a caring environment in which the other person feels encouraged by your ability to understand.
– If a person pauses as if trying to think of the right word, don’t jump in with a word of your own. Some people are careful about their choice of words. It doesn’t mean they need help. Finishing someone’s thought is rude and disruptive.
When I am on the other side of the equation I try to keep the following in focus :
– Clarify the objectives and results of the communication and work out a well structured communication programme.Fumbling with ideas and words invariably kills the attention of both parties.
-Totally focus on the person you are talking to.Make him /her feel important.
– Keep sentences short and simple
– Pay special attention to the vocal quality in case the communication is verbal.
– Don’t overload the recipient with information and ideas
Of course the old trick of breaking the monotony with good punch lines and humour usually never fails !
This is what my teacher quoted in context of how important it is to be an effective speaker –
Syrius said, “Speech is a mirror of the soul. As a man speaks, so is he. Do the work necessary to make sure your communication skills reflect the image you want others to have of you.”