Hello! This is part 2 of this series about the rewards of really listening. As I mentioned in the last article, genuine listening can be learned. Today we’ll discuss some of the keys to developing this important skill so you can reap the benefits of it in your life and business.
Here are three key elements about listening:
Anyone can learn to be a good listener. Even though some people might be better at this skill than others, listening isn’t about being educated, wealthy, or popular. Anyone can learn to listen, and children are some of the best listeners because they have the ability to drop what they are doing and focus intently on someone or something.
Listening is active. Many of us consider listening as a passive act. We believe we just have to be there. But true listening requires paying attention, not just to words, but to body language and to what is not being said. Listening also means responding, not in words but with our facial expressions, nodding our heads, and exclamations (“uh-huh”) that show we are present.
Listening means turning off the noise inside our heads. To listen, we must ignore all those voices inside, those criticisms and judgments…Oh, I wouldn’t have done that or He just doesn’t see how he’s making a huge mistake. Listening means disregarding the urge to advise or give suggestions (unless asked). It also means not trying to “fix” the problem or change the person. Most people don’t want advice, solutions, opinions, or our own stories—they just want to be heard.
This week, try paying attention to how well you are listening. In the next article we’ll discuss a few more keys to developing this important skill.