Do you 'truly' listen to what the other person is saying
We may believe we are good listeners but are we listening for our own needs or for the other person? In business or life, mastering the art of listening can promote businesses and relations dramatically. So here’s a few things to ask yourself to promote these listening skills…
You may have come across a book called “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by the recently deceased Stephen Covey, if not, it’s a good book for those wishing to become truly effective.
Out of the seven habits, one of my personal favourites is #5 “First seek to understand, then to be understood” and this is what this week’s feature is about.
In the early days of sales and retail, I soon learned that your sales would improve once you started to listen to clients’ needs and not what I had to sell. Whether it was a ‘deal of the week’ item or not, if it fitted their needs, great, they got double satisfaction but first and foremost the art of listening was paramount to a successful sale.
As a coach, this is a skillset which has been enhanced to insure I hear what isn’t being said as well as what, on the surface is! From here, further incisive questions are asked, then more listening is required to reach a specific objective for clients to obtain their goals.
So how can we improve our listening skills both at work and home to help others and, in turn, ourselves as a result of this? First, look at the following questions and respond honestly with as many answers you believe relevant against each one.
How effective are my listening skills?
- When listening to someone, I’m likely to:
- I interrupt people when:
- If I had to choose between speaking and listening, I’d chose to ... because:
- Listening comes easy to me when:
- When people express their emotions, I feel:
- If I can't have my say, I feel:
- I find it easy to listen to people when:
- I become easily distracted when listening if:
- People I tend to find it difficult to listen to include:
- The best listener I know is … because:
Now review what you have learned about yourself as a listener and list these out.
Once accomplished, complete the following statements:
- I know I actively listen well when:
- Habits I find irritating in a person speaking comprise of:
- To become even more effective at listening, I need to:
With a clearer understanding of your own foibles and strengths, write down what you will work on to improve your skillset.
How often have you started a conversation about something that has happened to you and before you even finish what you’re saying, another party has taken over the story with their own examples? We are all guilty of having what others say trigger our episodic memory but some of us learn that this conversation is not about our needs but actually to ‘listen’, in full to the other party.
So once you have mastered the skill of listening, the next step is to quell the desire to re-iterate our own examples into the situation unless it will be ‘truly’ beneficial to the other party.
These are traits that any great coach will adorn, however, these are things that may well help you better understand the people around you but should you wish to explore further, a life coach may be able to help.
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