4 Tricks to Better Listening

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Are you listening?

4 Tricks to Better Listening for a Happier Workforce

If you want to be a better speaker, learn to be a better listener. They say that God gave us one mouth and two ears so we listen twice as much as we speak. While I don’t know if that’s true or not, listening and being a good listener can really take you far in life. Those that speak without listening or talk before thinking can really get themselves into hot water and no one will want to be around them. Learning to listen can be a great motivator for your team.Are you listening?

In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People the author states to seek first to understand then be understood. If we approach people waiting to talk with an agenda already on our tongue, we may never be heard. For someone else to feel validated, you must listen first, not just wait to talk.

Make sure you are facing the speaker and you maintain eye contact. This alone can validate whatever the person is talking about. If your eyes dart around and seem bored, your speaker may feel invalidated and unimportant.

Keep an open mind. You may enter a conversation thinking you understand everything that is going to be said but if you truly listen to the speaker you might understand a different point of view or perspective. The minute you start judging what that person is saying you’ve compromised your effectiveness as a listener. Try to listen without jumping to conclusions or sticking with the conclusion you’ve already made.

Don’t interrupt. We teach children that it’s rude to interrupt but people do it often even as adults. It’s best to let them get their entire thought out, process what they’ve said and then respond accordingly. Interrupting sends the message that you are more important than the speaker and have more important things to say or that you simply don’t care what the speaker is saying.

Ask questions only to ensure understanding. Asking questions is fine but not when they are disruptive or pointless. You may not want to carry on the conversation but asking an important question can help you understand. Try not to shift the focus onto something that the speaker is not telling you. For instance: someone is telling you about a work-related incident of theirs and if you shift the focus off of that person onto the person causing the issue it is invalidated the speaker as to what they are really trying to say.

Listening is truly a valuable gift and if we learn to listen properly we can validate more people making them more productive in the workforce which in turn makes for a happier environment for everyone.