Listening – Easy Right!?
Ever been in a really bad mood , you air some frustration and everyone wants to give you advice? You don’t want to hear about what ‘they would have done ‘or ‘in their experience’. Sometimes you just want to vent and be heard.
Not sure whether it is because I am an extrovert or that I love the sound of my own voice (probably a bit of both), but I just can’t help but talk. When someone tells me a problem, I find a way of talking about myself and my experiences. I try so hard to stop myself but it just comes out. I am not alone I pick up on a lot of others doing exactly the same. I am not a natural listener, but I do try and make a conscious effort when listening. I find the below help’s gear me in the right direction.
When you are listening
- Listen intently and ask yourself what are they asking from you? Sometimes people just need to air their thoughts, sometimes they want some direction from you.
- Make it about them not you! Ask questions to get a better understanding, show you are listening.
- Only speak and share your experiences if it adds value to them. Think, is what you’re about to say going to add value or is it just a way for you to talk about yourself.
When you want to be listened to
- Firstly no one is going to be able to listen attentively to someone who is highly emotional and talks all the time. Emotions can alter the way people listen to you. So if something has immediately annoyed you, take 10 minutes to gather your thoughts before talking about it.
- What do you want to achieve from the conversation? – Tell the person you are speaking too ie.) ‘I just need to vent’, or ‘I need your advice’.
- Ever been in a meeting , walked out and forgotten to say something really important. Write down a couple of key bullet points that you want to discuss to make sure you don’t miss something out.
One last tip – With the world at our fingertips it’s easy to get distracted and try and multitask when someone is talking to you. Don’t do it. There is nothing worse than talking to someone and they are typing away or checking their phone. It’s just rude.
Listening isn’t easy, the first step is awareness: Ask yourself, colleagues, friends and family – Are you a good listener?
Sarah-Jane Kenny – Channel Solutions Consultant at The Ken Blanchard Companies