There’s an old saying that you’ve unfortunately probably heard more times than you’d like, “You have two ears and one mouth, use them in proportion!” Well I’m here to say it one more time. You want to be more effective at getting what you want when arguing or negotiating? You feel like your boss just won’t listen? Feeling like sometimes no one understands what you are saying? It’s probably because you aren’t actively listening.
Listening more than you talk is important for so many reasons. Pardon the pun, but hear me out on this. People in this country have been conditioned to have listen to everything in order to handle the stream of messages they are being served. That’s the only excuse you can make for why you aren’t aware. Actively listening is more than just giving you the ability to robotically repeat someone to show your ability to duplicate their words, but rather to actually understand what the person is saying from their perspective. Understanding each other more completely is critical for development as professionals and as people. Try this next time you get into a tough conversation (instead of waiting to talk), make a point to listen so you could explain the details to someone else if asked later. While this is virtually impossible, it forces you to ask follow-up questions which end up allowing you to better understand exactly what the person is trying to get you to comprehend.
Communicating effectively through active listening improves every aspect of your daily life. It aids in understanding people more completely, which ultimately helps you get your thoughts across more efficiently. Active listening requires lots of questions to complete the brains ability to retain information and understand its relevance. You can’t listen if you are waiting to talk, don’t believe me? Count how many times someone’s nose flinches when they tell you a story sometime…
Nodding and smiling is not genuine, and is NOT engaging. If you want to get people to understand you better, try understanding them better first. (It’s amazing, I promise!)