March 12, 2018
One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.
Bryant H. McGill
I think many of us have lost our ability to listen. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding because so many hear what they want to hear instead of what is being said. Others are so busy thinking about what they want to say that they miss others comments.
I know I have made it a practice over the years to feed back what I think has been said. I often say “If I heard you correctly you said…” and often found that I either didn’t understand what I said or that the speaker wanted to clarify what I thought was their point.
If we all paid more attention we might have less conflicts or misunderstandings, Recently Matthew Jones wrote an article titled 10 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Listening (and Networking) Skills that tells how we can become better listeners. Here in part is what he wrote:
Read the list below to discover how to become a better listener, and in doing so, become better at navigating relationships and networking opportunities.
- Avoid internal and external distractions.
Focus on what they’re saying. Don’t allow other thoughts or sounds to sway your concentration.
- Listen to the content of their speech.
Focus on the specific words they’re using. Each phrase and word choice is something interesting that you should be taking in.
- Listen to the context of their speech.
What are the over-arching stories and circumstances they are discussing? Are there common themes? What are the unique situations this person finds themselves in and how does that relate to what they’re telling you?
- Listen to tone of their voice.
Vocal tones convey a lot about what a person might be feeling. Think about what their vocal tone implies about their feelings. All feelings have a story–learn theirs.
- Listen for the emotions the speaker is likely experiencing.
The more that you follow and amplify the person’s emotions, the more likely they are to feel understood. With so many people uncomfortable about sharing their feelings, moments of vulnerability can quickly build a deeper connection.
- Pay attention to their body language and make appropriate eye contact.
With much of communication being non-verbal, it’s incredibly important that you soak in as much information as possible while also showing them–physically–that you are sharing in their experience.
- Provide small verbal encouragements and don’t fight silences.
Saying small things like, “yes,” “right,” “that makes sense,” and allowing natural silences to occur without filling them due to your own discomfort go a long way in building rapport.
- Ask open-ended questions to encourage elaboration.
There’s no substitute for a good question–try to get lengthy responses to understand the big-picture.
- If you need them to slow down or want specific info, ask close-ended questions.
Questions that can be answered in yes or no slow down the pace when you’re feeling overwhelmed and also allow you to gather important details that you missed earlier.
- Offer affirmations that the person has made valuable and important choices.
Affirmations are like compliments–everyone likes them. Instead of saying, “I’m proud of you,” like a compliment, an affirmation focuses on the other person, “You should be proud of your hard work.”
Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking. Bernard Baruch
While leading a tour of Kindergarten students through our hospital, I overheard a conversation between one little girl and an X-ray technician. “Have you ever broken a bone”? he asked.
“Yes,” the girl replied.
“Did it hurt”?
“Really? Which bone did you break”?
“My sister’s arm.”
Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.
Ruth Ann Schabacker
A man walks into an insurance office and asks for a job. “Sorry, we don’t need anyone…” the manager at the office replied.
“You can’t afford not to hire me. I can sell anyone, anything, anytime!”
“Well, we have two prospects that no one has been able to sell. If you can sell just one, then you have a job.”
He was gone about two hours and when he returned, he handed them two checks, one for $25,000 and another for $50,000.
“How in the world did you do that?” the manager asked.
“I told you, I’m the world’s best salesman, I can sell anyone, anything, anytime!”
“Did you get a urine sample?” the manager asked him.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Well, if you sell a policy over $20,000, the company requires a urine sample. Now take these two bottles and go back and get urine samples.”
He was gone about eight hours and the office was about to close, when in he walks with two five-gallon buckets, one in each hand. He put the buckets down, reached in his shirt pocket, took out two bottles of urine, set them on the desk and said, “Here’s Mr. Jones’ and this one is Mrs. Johnson’s.”
“That’s good,” the manager said, “but what’s in those two buckets?”
“Well, I passed by the school house and they were having a state teachers’ convention, so I stopped and sold them a group policy!”
“One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.”
Rita Mae Brown
Mary: I signed up for a refresher CPR course.
Shirley: Is it hard to learn?
Mary: Not at all. Basically you’re asked to breathe life into a dummy. I don’t expect to have any problem. I did that for 12 years.
“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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