Do you really listen or do you just hear? Listening is crucial to success when selling your business, speaking to a customer or having good relationships with friends and family.
A major part of my role as a therapist is the ability to listen closely and to really hear what the person is saying – also how they are saying what they are saying.
Listening well is a skill which you can learn and develop. Consider these tips:
- When you really listen you show the other person respect by giving them your full attention. Put your mobile phone away, don’t have it on the table – even if it is face down! By doing this you send a silent message to the other person that they have your full attention and they are important.
Think about where your mobile is when you have a conversation with your employee, your customer or your child. Change your behaviour and send a message that the other person is important to you at that moment.
- By giving respect you are more likely to gain respect from the other and in turn they are more likely to listen to what you have to say.
- Listening will provide you with knowledge about the other person, if you know them better, you may understand them better. Think about the benefit of understanding your boss, or your customers’ needs or your spouse’s worries. How would your customer feel if you remembered their birthday, their last holiday destination or their child’s name. What if you could remember something your spouse said they wanted to do and you surprised them with it?
- When you listen well you are more likely to be a better conversationalist. You will find that you speak with more clarity which may prevent confusion or conflict. Listening will force you to slow down and take time to hear, in turn you may think more before you speak.
- When you listen, allow the person to finish what they are saying. Sometimes being criticised or blamed can cause us to jump in and defend ourselves – we may not get the whole story. The conversation can escalate into an argument with each person defending themselves. It has to be a two-way street of course otherwise you may find yourself railroaded and not able to make your point.
There is a saying “You have two ears and one mouth, use them in
proportion.” Not a bad thing to remember.