By Christopher Emmanuel
The better you are at listening, the more people will want to tell you.
There is knowledge all around us in every one and every thing we do in this life. Each person is experiencing life different and when we can listen to what they have to say we learn new knowledge.
Sometimes we don't pay attention. We can talk for hours and not even know what we're arguing about. The next time you find yourself in an argument, get the picture straight. Don't take any ideas for granted, even if you think you understand what they mean. Listen for the message behind the message. Don't be busy getting your answer ready while the other person is still talking. Through questioning, you'll find there is always something deeper. Ask the person: "Do you mean to say... Please tell me if I understand you correctly." This way at least you know that you're arguing about the same thing." Effective listening means: Hearing the words. Understanding the message. Putting it into action.
Good listening skills are critical to interaction, compromise, partnership, discovery, and almost every significant component of relating with others. Good management depends upon having the effective listening skills to learn from other people. Being a good listener is important, but not sufficient to assure success. You need to take action on what is being said so as to assure the conversation is heard and understood. Show you're actively listening with more than just your ears. Acknowledge the speaker with facial expressions (smile, nod/shake your head, eye contact) and verbal comments ("I see," "I understand," "okay," "yes") to aid the conversation.
Below are five great ways to be a better listener:
Be willing to listen - Begin with a commitment to listen - be open minded and consider other points of view. Listen regardless of whether you agree or disagree with what's said. Resist the urge to jump to conclusions; be defensive or argumentative with the speaker.
Be attentive 100% - Give the speaker your undivided attention. If it's not a good time for you, defer the conversation. Ignore the desire to multi-task and selectively listen (only listening to bits and pieces of information). Remain in the moment for the duration of the conversation - don't tune in and out or pretend to be listening when you're really thinking about where to go on your next vacation.
Empathize - Be sensitive, compassionate, and understanding - realize it may be difficult for the speaker to talk about this matter. Empathy doesn't mean you have to agree with the speaker. Avoid thinking about how to "one up" the speaker with your own tale of woe.
Don’t give advice - Sometimes our idea of listening is to jump in and give unwanted advice. Listening is not an open invitation to resolve a dilemma. Just listen because often the speaker simply seeks a sympathetic ear.
Be patient - We often interrupt because we are afraid we will forget our point(s). Don't interrupt - allow the speaker to finish what she/he has to say. Don't finish the speaker's sentences because you think they're taking too long to get to the point. Focus on what is being said instead of what you think is going to be said.
Follow the above guidelines in your conversations, and you will find people will open up, become more comfortable, and tell you more. Effective listening makes life simpler and clearer, period.
Books by Christopher Emmanuel can be purchased at his Art Gallery in The Sunbreeze Hotel , Art of Touch, Pages Book Store, Black orchid Spa and Sol Spa.