Have you ever drifted off during someone else’s monologue? Did they notice or assume that you were listening attentively? Hope they didn’t say anything important.
Isn’t it strange that we are taught to speak but not to really focus when listening. Imagine what we have missed if we doze off during conversations. If they noticed, then your reputation as a listener is in doubt.
Try applying mindfulness or situational awareness to your listening skills. Become a very competent listener. You will be amazed at the difference it makes in all areas of influence including communication, influencing, negotiating and selling. You are also more likely to get helpful feedback if people know you will listen.
So here goes. When listening to someone give 100% attention. Practise throughout the day. See how long you can listen before your mind wanders. Try to extend this period.
Also keep your mind free of thought when listening. Don’t jump ahead or go back to the past. Don’t guess where the conversation is going. Stay with the speaker. You don’t need to think consciously when listening. The words and meaning will be understood by your unconscious mind. Let the message flow over you. When it is your turn to speak…pause…count to five and respond. Don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t have an opinion’ or ‘I will give that some thought and get back to you’. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed into articulating a poorly thought out response. Listen more than you speak. Ask questions or if you can’t think of a question say ‘Can I ask you a question?’ You will think of something.
So for the next week, make an effort to give 100% attention when listening. Keep your mind clear and pause before responding.
If you are a really poor listener, people will comment. ‘What’s happened to you?’ They will get suspicious.
Let me know how you go.
You ability to influence others is an essential interpersonal ability and listening is the most important skill.