Want Better Conversations? Listen = SILENT
LISTEN = SILENT
We listen to people every day, but listening is a skill that we ALL can use improvement on. The key to being a great listener is to remember this:
The letters in the word LISTEN are also the same letters in the word SILENT.
If you don’t remember anything else from this post, remember that when LISTENING you should be SILENT. When you are listening it is your job to turn your EARS UP and turn your MOUTH OFF. It will make a HUGE difference in your conversations and your connection with those around you.
While you are SILENTLY being an ACTIVE LISTENER, here are some other things you can do to have better conversations:
- Release the need to be right – You usually come into any given conversation with a point-of-view or belief on how things should be. You may find that the person speaking has information or a new way of seeing things that may challenge your beliefs. When you release the need to be right, you allow new information in…and you allow the speaker to feel heard.
- Stop rehearsing in your head – When you’re having a conversation, you might find that your brain is wildly searching for information to contribute to the conversation and how best to relay these thoughts when it is your turn to speak. This means that you are focusing on contributing your next thought to the conversation and not on what is being said. When you stop trying to figure out what you will say next, you’ll find it is easier to focus–and to hear what is being said.
- Make eye contact – It sounds so obvious, but a lot of times you may find that you are in conversations while also being distracted by phones, other people, or other responsibilities. When you stop paying attention to other things and make eye contact with the person you are talking to, you will notice an energy shift in the conversation because you are tuned-in to what they are saying and the person speaking will notice a difference.
- Listen for the MEANING – A lot of times we are listening to the words that are being said and not really listening for the meaning. Remember that the person speaking may not be finding the right words to express their thoughts (especially if they speak multiple languages). Don’t get tripped up on the words being used and listen instead for the meaning that the person speaking is trying to convey.
- Repeat back what you THINK you heard – This is the BEST WAY to ensure that what you’ve heard–or what you THINK you heard– is actually what the person speaking meant to say. When you say something like, “What I heard you say is…” or “What I think you mean is…’, it gives the person speaking the opportunity to say “YES! That is EXACTLY what I meant!” or “No…that isn’t what I meant at all!” This helps to ensure that you’ve addressed any misunderstanding and it leaves the person speaking with a feeling that they have been heard and understood (even if you don’t agree).
It takes some work to listen, but when you take the time to do these small things it makes a BIG difference in your conversations. By regularly working on being a better listener, you’ll find that you’re creating more connected relationships with those around you because you will be showing people that you can provide them with the opportunity to be heard, even if you don’t agree with what is being said. And really…what we are all looking for in life is to feel like we have been SEEN, HEARD and UNDERSTOOD…right?