We all are taught to read and write, but how many of us were ever taught to listen with more intention than simply being quiet, biding our time until it was our turn to talk?
Listening can be especially hard when we feel we already know the answer, or have other demands pressing down upon us, or just are not interested in the information the other person is intent on sharing.
What if I told you that that listening is the secret to your success? And that you can learn everything you need to know about listening if you only follow three simple rules?
People who are great listeners have three things in common:
They remember they have two ears and one mouth and that these should be used in direct proportion to one another.
Some people hog the conversation and the spotlight, forgetting that they already know their own thoughts and if they are to learn anything new, they must listen to what others have to say.
If we want to make a difference to others, we encourage them to continue speaking by maintaining eye contact, asking questions, and responding nonverbally. When we do, we show them they are important to us.
They keep the hearing aid turned up to catch everything that is said.
Some people simply cannot hear anything said by others they do not respect as equals. Others choose to hear those things that feed their ego while selectively ignoring all else.
If we want to make a difference to others, we practice listening closely to everyone who speaks to us, no matter their social status relative our own, and no matter what it is they say. When we do, we give them the gift of connecting with us on some common ground.
They focus on listening well.
Some people multi-task by checking email, texting, or engaging in some other task while appearing to listen to what is being said. When they ask questions, or are asked question, it becomes apparent their attention was someplace else.
If we want to make a difference to others, we show them by our actions that we want to connect with them and that their words are important to us. When we do, we give them the gift of our full attention.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: The only way we learn to listen is to practice it, with focused attention and patience and a sense of curiosity about what the speaker has to say. When we master the skill, our effort to show respect and to connect is rewarded by the respect and trust shown to us.