Ever notice your listeners furrowing their brows, scratching their heads or even bluntly stating their confusion despite feeling that you delivered a clear message??? Well follow along and you will now understand what it REALLY takes to communicate.
See, in order to be an excellent communicator, one must be an excellent listener. Hello Reader? Can you hear me?? Ok phew, just making sure you’re listening. ☺ In this piece I will provide you with 5 easy steps to rapidly improve your listening skills.
Ok first important point, we listen for one of four primary reasons: learning, information, understanding or pleasure. This is very important to note because it is the platform from which you begin receiving your sender’s message.
This is Step 1. INTENTION. Ask yourself, “WHAT am I listening for: knowledge, learning, understanding or pleasure?”
Next it’s time to examine your focal point. Now this is where you have to get very honest. Where is your lens focused when you are “listening”? More often than not it’s on you. We are typically more focused on our own voices making LOTS of judgments and assumptions about our sender rather than the actual message being delivered.
For example while someone is speaking, you are chatting away internally, “Boy he should have combed his hair, that lipstick does not go with that dress, this guy thinks he knows everything!” Sound familiar? This is Step 2. FOCUS. Ask yourself, “WHO am I really listening to, the sender or my own dialogue?”
Here’s the thing, in order to be effective listeners, not only do we have to learn how to silence our internal dialogue, we also have to remember to keep our external dialogue quiet. No interrupting!! This is very important because in order to form a cohesive and appropriate response, we have to receive the information without interruptions. This is Step 3. SILENCE. Ask yourself, “WHEN should I respond?”
Next you may discover that either, due to the communication style of the sender OR because you were more concerned with noticing the stain on his lapel, you didn’t receive the message. Oh no! **Hint, hint. It is far more detrimental to base your reply on a loose interpretation of the message combined with your fashion critique than to humble yourself by asking the sender to repeat the message.** This is Step 4. CLARITY “How valuable or accurate is my content?”
The final step is to evaluate as the listener what you can do to ensure that you have received the message as it was intended. This is Step 5. EVALUATE Ask yourself, “WHERE do I go from here?”
You may discover that you have to return all the way to step one and remind yourself of your original listening platform. Or you may need to revisit step four and ask for more clarity. While in step four you may find yourself needing a little step 3, focus/refocus. Are you seeing the pattern here? We have some habits to break and new ones to make.
The point is that like all tools we have to use them repetitively to become skilled. After all, a hammer does not do much for you unless you know how to swing it accurately! Communication requires more than just clear message delivery. It requires being a great listener as well. Below you will find a concise little recap to use as a reference. Good luck and happy listening!
5 Steps To Rapidly Improve Listening
|1. INTENTION.||What are you listening for: knowledge, learning, understanding or pleasure?|
|2. FOCUS.||To whom are you really listening?|
|3. SILENCE.||When should you respond?|
|4. CLARITY.||How valuable or accurate is your content?|
|5. EVALUATE.||Where do you go from here?|
Wishing you complete success and health,
Founder Positive Constructs, LLC