“We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.” –Diogenes
Did you know there is a difference between hearing and listening? It’s equally true that nobody taught us how to listen during our growing years, but we were always told that we should listen. Isn’t it?
I have realized through the years that listening is a crucial skill for one to develop. Trainers and coaches like me Listening is the skill we swear by. We do this in our daily lives with our clients, workshops, webinars, etc. We listen with intent, clarify any pending points, often paraphrase what is said, and ask the speaker to expand; we will help resolve a conflict by facilitating clear communication through reflection, open body language, and assisting individuals in understanding one another. Most of you who are in a similar profession would agree. While working at corporates where I have spent more than 15 + years, I followed the same listening strategy, which genuinely helped me grow and resolve differences within my team members and stakeholders to converse more positively and say the right things.
With my personal experience, I have learned the following keys things –
It is all about your Attitude- What I mean here is about the state you are in at that moment, which has a lot to do with how you listen to someone speaking. Important here is to approach with an open mind and not to give judgments or to respond. Don’t listen to respond. I have learned that we usually know something from everyone provided. If we have an attitude and believe it is accurate, we will be a better listener and give the speaker more respect and attention. Enter the room with an open mind so you can listen to the speaker.
Pay attention- this is the second key thing I have learned that is Paying attention. In the earlier days of my career, I did struggle to pay attention. When I realized this is an important skill, I took the following steps- reading, started observing things more in detail, and created to recall as much about the picture I could, keeping myself hydrated, daily workout routine (the secret to my fitness J). Even meditation helps; I am yet to get there.
Be adaptable – by birth, I was always rigid by nature, but this trait has disappeared over the years, and I have replaced it with being more adaptive/flexible. Trust me, and this works like miracles. Having an open mind that I had mentioned earlier, i.e., Attitude, helps you observe more information correctly. Been flexible makes us see situations, things, and even conversation more positively. Not only this, it allows us to stay, and we say in our mind, “Bring it on,” which means we are prepared even for the unexpected. Notable isn’t it. For example- today morning when one of my clients called wanting to speak about invoice I was to raise post our last discussion. For few days, we were negotiating on the outcome of the numbers to be frozen. When I had seen my client’s message, I thought he would probably want me to deal, but to my surprise, he was comfortable with the invoice. By been flexible in my thoughts I just got into the rhythm of being flexible and keeping myself open to the conversation.
While we all understand the importance of listening and is one of society’s foundations, it enables us to form meaningful relationships and connections. And yet, most of us haven’t thought about how we listen.
Do share your experiences, comments, and thoughts.