According to Psychology Today, less than 10% of us listen effectively
At the weekend I often go walking where I get to reflect on my week and integrate any learnings from the positive and negative experiences that I’ve had. This week brought up a critical area. Not just in business, but also in life: listening. Do you truly listen to what people are saying, or are you waiting to talk?
Active listening is the art of being completely present whilst another person talks
When this happens your phone could bleep or ring, you may think of a great story that you have which sort of relates to what is being said, or you may be having a conversation with yourself as the person speaks. Your ability to ignore all of these and stay present with that person is active listening.
How do you know when you are with an active listener?
This is easy. You leave the conversation feeling heard. If you want a real life conversation with an active listener then look up two of my friends who are excellent at this:
Both of these guys not only know how to listen, but you will also definitely leave their conversations feeling better, calmer, more listened to and heard. There are enough people who like the sound of their own voices way too much whilst adding no interest or value to those that they talk to. These people are never asked to join my network, and wouldn’t last long if they did.
So, if you want an exercise to test your active listening skills: Spend time with someone (it could be a loved-one or business associate. It doesn’t matter as this is a critical life skill that will serve you in every area of your life) and listen to them with no agenda except to understand.
When they have finished, repeat back to them a summary of your understanding of what they have said, along with something that clearly relates to this, which is often another question in seeking to understand them. Park your own agenda and focus solely on theirs. When you are done, the odds of them wanting to focus on your agenda (if you even have one) are far more likely.
Or, in the words of the late Stephen Covey; “First seek to understand, then seek to be understood”
If you want to see this in action , join us at one of our events
Image taken from http://www.thesmartmanager.com/cover-story/listening-to-understand.html