Do You Listen to Understand or to Respond?
Written on the 27 July 2016 by Charles AllenEffective listening is vital in your leadership role. All too often, as we listen to others we are immediately preparing a response. However, as Wesley Snipes says in 'White Men Can't Jump' with Woody Harrelson, "You're listening to Jimmy but can you hear Jimmy"? All too often we are much more excited about talking than we are about understanding where that person is coming from or what they are trying to convey.
Effective communication means you have to understand exactly the point of view of the other person or persons. How often have you had a conversation with your spouse, received the instructions you thought were accurate, and did exactly as you thought they said, only to find out you did the wrong thing? I know I have done that on numerous occassions.
1. Listen actively without preparing a response. When you listen, make sure you understand exactly what the person is trying to convey. Do not immediately prepare your response. Gather the information, process it, store it, with no attempt to respond. This requires practice and attention.
2. Watch and read the body language of the speaker. Body language, in my opinion, make up 70-80% of effective communication. We all can recognize when the speaker says one thing and means another. Being able to read this is vital to effective communication.
3. Mimmick the body language of the speaker. Mirroring the body language of the spearker is an advanced listening technique I was taught years ago. This technique creates congruency with the speaker. This technique is highly effective in a sales presentation. It's a subconscious technique that creates immediate congruency in the speaker's mind that you are highly attentive.
4. Ask appropriate questions in an attempt to understand and not to respond. When your spouse gives you the order to 'pick up the eggs' on the way home from work, make sure you clarify what she really wants. Be specific, large size eggs, or extra large, or organic eggs?, brand? etc. Don't come home with milk.
5. Use appropriate tone when you ask questions. Have you ever heard a spouse or loved one say, "it's not what you said, it's how you said it"? We all have. Be sure and check that inappropriate tone at the door.
6. Repeat the question. If you are unclear what the speaker is asking, make sure your repeat the question as to fully understand. Never assume. We all know what happens when you assume, right? Make an a__ out of you and me.
7. Take a real interest. Taking a real interest means putting yourself in the speaker's shoes. Stop daydreaming while the speaker is talking, thinking about that important project that you have due, or your next golf game. Listen with the speaker's best interest at heart. Once again, this takes practice.
8. Summarize. When the speaker has delivered the message, make sure you summarize exactly what the directions are. In this hustle and bustle world, people often are in such a hurry they fail to take the time to fully understand the message. Use patience for far more effective communication.
Effective listening is a skill that can be developed. So before you respond, zip it up and understand fully the message.
Chris Doe Ford - Your listening to Jimmy but do you hear Jimmy? Are you listening to respond? http://RChrisFord.com