It has been said that we should be “quick to listen and slow to speak”.
Such a simple phrase. Yet, it is the key to effective communication. That might be why we have two ears and only one mouth. We need to use our ears twice as much as we use our mouth.
When I listen, I learn.
I learn what you think and how you think
I learn how that is different from what I think
I learn where we agree or disagree
I learn additional data on a given topic
To make that happen I need to:
Learn that it is OK not to say a lot or ‘top’ your story.
Learn to give you a full listening, not wait for a pause so I can speak.
Learn to understand your point of reference so we are on the same page
Learn to accept your emotion as a part of your communication.
So, when communicating with others, I need to learn to:
•Remove all distraction and look at them so I can hear their words and see their body language. I need to pay attention to not only what they say but how they say it.
•Stop thinking of other things and get into what they are saying. If the subject is emotional, I need to feel with them. I need to put myself in their shoes.
•Not assume I have heard them until they are all done talking. It may take a while because some people adjust their sentences as they hear themselves speak.
• Not start forming my response while they are talking. I need to listen until they are done talking. They may say it differently when they repeat themselves.
Listening is an art that a leader has to develop.
Sometimes you only get one shot at hearing the inner thoughts of another person.