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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