Be honest. What’s your motivation for listening?
Though we hate to admit it, most of us are listening with the focus on what we’ll say next. Often we reply before the speaker is even done talking, so sure are we that we know what they are about to say.
That’s not really listening. That’s making it all about “us.”
Have you ever responded to someone so quickly that they had not finished speaking yet? I recently busted myself. I replied too, too fast, feeling pretty sure I knew what my husband was about to say. Not only did I have to own up to interrupting, but my response had nothing to do with where he was going in the conversation.
True listening is about hearing the speaker. Both what they are saying and what they are not. It’s about catching their tone, their meaning, and their feelings about what they are communicating. What is NOT said is sometimes more important than what is. Body language and tone often beat out words as being more true.
This week, let’s keep it simple. Observe yourself, at home and at work, when you are listening. See just how often it’s to compose your reply before you have truly heard what is being said.
Then, if you want to be a better communicator, switch gears. Tune in. Pay attention. HEAR what is and isn’t being said. Truly listen. I guarantee it will change your reply, as well as the feelings you and the speaker have during your conversation.
I’ll be waiting for your comments, your outcomes. I’ll be waiting to hear how you caught yourself, what you observed and even what shifted.