The Power of Listening
Active listening is an art that most can improve on. We listen to people every day and should be very good at it by now. Unfortunately, often we hear only part of what is being said because we aren’t paying full attention. I believe that we “hear” things all day long, but most of the time we do not actually “listen.”
Listening is an action. This means that we physically do something along with processing what our ears are hearing. We listen with our eyes, our bodies, and our mind in unison. Listening is most effective when our eyes are locked on the person speaking, our bodies are faced towards them, and our minds are open to what is being conveyed. During this process, our sole focus should be on that person, and not anywhere else: not on our phones, or a magazine, or looking off in to the sunset. These are distractions and are taking away from the connection of the conversation.
We should also realize that different people have different needs from their listening audience. Once you realize that, this can help lead to more efficient communication for all involved. For example, my wife and I share two businesses, a household, and two children, amongst many other things. I have learned through trial and much error that whenever we are having an important conversation, I need to be right in front of her and provide my undivided attention. If I am doing anything else at the same time, she becomes distracted, and that takes away from the conversation. To be most effective in our conversations, we need to sit across from each other, lock eyes, and not have any other distractions. This works best for us.
True listening is being open and present to the person speaking so we can learn, grow, and internalize the meaning of what is being said. Many times, we only half-listen, all the while leaping ahead mentally to shape our own response or rebuttal. Perhaps we are thinking of guidance to give or a personal story to offer to empathize with the other person. During these times, we are not truly listening. We are not taking in the entirety of what is being conveyed to us.
Listening fully can be very challenging for many people. To fully commit yourself to listening is something that must be practiced. You must apply focus, fight distractions, and give your whole-hearted attention.”. Through this effort, you are showing the other person that you respect them and their message and are interested in learning about them. You set the stage for open conversation and create the best opportunity for your own success.
Excerpt from “Capture Your Power in Sales and Business” ©2018