How to be a better listener and why...

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Carmela Realty DRE #01103369

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With all the White House receptions he hosted, President Franklin D. Roosevelt eventually got tired of flashing his big smile and saying all the usual pleasantries.  One evening, he decided to find out if anybody was really listening to what he was saying. As each person came up to him he extended his hand, he flashed that big smile and said, " I murdered my grandmother this morning."

People automatically replied with comments like "Oh, how lovely!" or "Just continue your great work."

 

One foreign diplomat who turned out to be listening; after thinking about replied, "I'm sure she must have deserved it Mr. President."

Listening is an immensely important skill that is too often overlooked. We forget that it’s a crucial part of any successful relationship, whether personal or professional. If you’re a manager, listening to your employees is crucial to gaining trust and forming a strong working bond. At home, paying attention to the needs and wants of your spouse is necessary to building a healthy mutual relationship. Tuning into another person and really taking the time to hear them says “you matter to me”.

Here are several things you can do to start sharpening your listening skills. Once you’re able to implement these in your everyday life you’ll start to see the benefit in your personal and professional relationships.

1.    Listen Actively

Active listening is one of the most effective forms of listening. What active listening means is not only hearing what the person is saying but participating in the discussion whether through body language, or asking him to expand on what he is saying. This will help you to empathize and understand where the person is coming from.

2.    Remove Distractions

Our world is full of technology. Cell phones, television, and iPads are a part of our daily lives. There’s little room for these distractions, however, when truly listening to someone. Put away phones or close your laptop to give the person you’re speaking with your full attention.

3.    Focus on the Present

It’s easy to get lost in your own thoughts about all of the things you want to accomplish or need to take care of. The demands of daily life can be overwhelming. Listening to others requires the ability to set aside these thoughts long enough to focus on the individual speaking to you. The practice of meditation is an excellent way to learn the skill of concentrating on the present moment.

4.    Avoid Assumptions

Presumptions are dangerous business. Effective listening requires bringing an open mind to the table. Set aside preconceived ideas and beliefs so that you can be open to the feelings and viewpoints of others.

5.    Pay Attention to Body Language

Non-verbal communication includes facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, and even the tone of a speaker’s voice. Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of the book,Silent Messages, found that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal communication. Paying attention to the unspoken messages of a speaker is an essential piece of the listening process.

6.    Empathetic Listening

Empathy is best described as the ability to identify with and understand another individual’s situation, feelings, and motives. Empathetic listening builds trust and respect. Pay attention to the emotions behind the words being spoken when you are engaged in listening.

7.    Clarification and Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing information shared by a speaker facilitates the listening process. It involves repeating back to a speaker in your own words information that has been shared. This communication tool encourages those you’re communicating with to continue sharing their thoughts and ideas. It demonstrates your engagement in the information being shared with you.

8.    Ask Questions

Asking questions opens the door for open communication. It shows the person speaking that you’re truly interested in what they have to say. This skill is a cornerstone of connecting with others and developing meaningful relationships.

“We were given two ears but only one mouth. This is because God knew that listening was twice as hard as talking.”

Copyright 2013 all information on this profile is provided by and owned by Scott Brokers DRE 01343907 visit us at ThriveDosVientos.com 800-850-5690 Testimonials, Bio and Contact Info. for Carmela Jacobs at Scott Brokers.

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Rainmaker
196,808
Carmela Jacobs
Carmela Realty - Thousand Oaks, CA
Ventura Co., Los Angeles Co., CA, & Global Realtor

Scott-I think we are all guilty of not listening at one point or another in our life. The lesson is that we can make an effort to focus and be better listeners.

Charles- I like your rhyme; very true.

 

Mar 04, 2013 12:56 AM #19
Rainmaker
565,460
Jordon Wheeler
The Jordon Wheeler Group - Fairburn, GA
J W Group Real Estate Sales and Service

Hi Carmela,

I really enjoyed this post.  I am known as a good listener by most of my clients, and as you so eloquently point out, listening is a skill to be obtained in our line of work.  And any relationship for that matter.  Best of good success to you this year!

Mar 04, 2013 12:36 PM #20
Rainmaker
196,808
Carmela Jacobs
Carmela Realty - Thousand Oaks, CA
Ventura Co., Los Angeles Co., CA, & Global Realtor

Simone- Practice makes perfect, asking questions is a step in the right direction.

Jordon- Glad you enjoyed the post.

Best,

Mar 06, 2013 12:25 AM #21
Ambassador
1,769,785
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

I agree. I have a hard time listing and love to talk. I now force myself to shut up and hear what others are saying.

Mar 06, 2013 12:26 AM #22
Rainmaker
2,742,370
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

A little dark humor just me me giiggle. And by the way, I didn't murder anyone. :)

 

Love and light,

Laura

Mar 06, 2013 10:52 AM #23
Rainmaker
863,526
Les & Sarah Oswald
Realty One Group - Eastvale, CA
Broker, Realtor and Investor

Carmela - very appropriate topic. I am still working on the craft of listening every day on the job.

Mar 06, 2013 10:55 AM #24
Rainmaker
196,808
Carmela Jacobs
Carmela Realty - Thousand Oaks, CA
Ventura Co., Los Angeles Co., CA, & Global Realtor

Noah- If that's the least of your problems your going in the right direction, just keep working on it.

Laura- Glad to know you having murdered anybody today, but what with the LOVE and LIGHT motto I seriously doubt you ever will.   

Sarah  and Les- LOL, I think we are all continually working on it. 

Best,

Mar 07, 2013 01:06 AM #25
Rainmaker
1,036,266
Mark Loewenberg
KW of the Palm Beaches - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
KW 561-214-0370

love your FDR story! this is one I practice as much as I preach, so very important a skill for the world

Mar 07, 2013 11:21 AM #26
Rainmaker
1,310,724
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Very wise post...especially # 1 and # 3.   Important!

Mar 08, 2013 12:40 AM #27
Rainmaker
491,252
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Carmela: Obviously you knew what you were doing when you picked this topic!!! I especailly love #8: Ask questions---tht is the best way to make sure you are going to listen! It also leaves open the possiblity that we will learn something new that we didn't know before....

Mar 09, 2013 02:58 AM #28
Rainmaker
528,208
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Active listening is a skill, truly. It can be difficult to focus sometimes, I think that we are all juggling so much and we all have adult attention deficit disorder in some form.  Thank you for sharing!

Mar 21, 2013 12:12 PM #29
Rainmaker
1,143,921
David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

Hmmm I think I am printing this and taping it to my desk!

Mar 21, 2013 12:30 PM #30
Ambassador
3,674,552
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Carmela, perhaps our local real estate commissions should include a manditory course on listening.  Oh wait!  does anyone offer such a course? 

Mar 21, 2013 12:41 PM #31
Rainer
343,688
Ki Gray
SkiHomes.com LLC - Aspen, CO
SkiHomes.com - the ultimate snowsport home search!

Being a good listener is often a rare quality.  Very overlooked yet extremely important.

Mar 21, 2013 12:51 PM #32
Ambassador
3,674,552
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hey, Carmela! I included this post in Last Week’s Favorites.  Please drop by and check it out, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Mar 24, 2013 04:17 AM #33
Ambassador
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

This is the toughest thing for me. I am quick, have little patience, and I have difficult time listening to tirade when I know the answer from the very fiew words.

And tis was not a useful skill back in Russia, and old habits are the most difficult to change

And i am trying

Mar 25, 2013 02:55 PM #34
Rainmaker
449,221
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

Great post Carmela, it's really annoying trying to talk to someone when they are scanning their phone for messages.

Mar 28, 2013 01:56 AM #35
Rainmaker
240,596
Christi Farrington
Dagny's Real Estate - Wilton, CT
~ Your representative in Fairfield County, CT

Wonderful topic for a Blog.  Thank you.  I think we all 'try' to listen, but I know that I'm not quite 'there' as often as I should be.  Thank you for the wonderful Reminder.  I, too, think that I will print it!! :)

Mar 28, 2013 01:59 AM #36
Rainmaker
196,808
Carmela Jacobs
Carmela Realty - Thousand Oaks, CA
Ventura Co., Los Angeles Co., CA, & Global Realtor

WOW, 

Thanks for your comments and support everyone!!!

Mar 28, 2013 02:25 AM #37
Ambassador
909,811
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

What a terrific post... and one that can help everyone- not just Realtors!  Suggested!  Kathy

Mar 29, 2013 02:37 PM #38
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Carmela Jacobs

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