Have you ever spoken to someone who dismissed everything you said?
With all the distractions around us, sometimes the people we talk to may not be listening to us at the moment. Maybe they are trying to multitask. But no matter the reason, being ignored can leave us feeling rejected and unimportant.
When we don’t listen to others, we can indirectly hurt that person by making them feel like they don’t matter.
We all know how important communication is in our professional and personal lives, and most of us can see the difference between good and bad communication. When there is an open line of communication (good communication), things seem to click and fall into place. On the other hand, when communication is lacking, things don’t go as smoothly, and sometimes things go wrong. When communication is fractured, people become defensive, misunderstood, and often things fall apart.
Misunderstandings often lead to conflicts, and misunderstandings occur when people fail to listen and understand each other.
Unfortunately, people don’t listen as much as they talk, and the value of listening can reap many benefits when used to communicate with others
The Importance of Listening & Why We Should Do It
When people talk about communication skills, they rarely talk about how to become better listeners. Instead, they may teach you how to speak with confidence so that people will listen or how to debate so that you can win any argument.
Most people communicate to get their point across and win. After all, there is no better feeling than being right because we love not being wrong.
But communication is more than winning arguments, closing deals, and giving unsolicited advice. Communication is also about listening to others and making them feel understood.
Unfortunately, we don’t listen enough, mainly because it is not easy.
Listening is much more challenging than most people think, and it is more than just allowing a person to speak. It is about trying to understand them.
We all know it’s essential to be a good listener. Why? Because we all know how good it feels when someone gets us.
LISTENING CREATES AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE THE OTHER PERSON FEELS HEARD. WHAT MAKES LISTENING POWERFUL IS THAT LISTENING CAN HELP IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP AND GAIN PEOPLE’S TRUST, HAVE HIGHER QUALITY CONVERSATIONS, AND AVOID CONFLICTS AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS.
How To Become A Better Listener
Becoming a good listener is not easy, but everyone can be better by practicing:
- Fight Distractions— Have you ever zoned out while someone was talking to you? Of course! We all have. On a daily basis, we fight all sorts of distractions from our phones, personal responsibilities, work, and more. Being attentive and actively listening to someone is much more complicated than you think. When someone talks to you, being a good listener means giving that person your full attention so that they feel heard and that you understand them. After all, we all want to feel understood.
- Listen to Learn— We all have our perspectives, and our views may differ from one person to another. Be curious about the person and what they have to say. If you listen with curiosity, you might even learn something you didn’t know before.
- Listen to Understand— Stephen Covey once said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” In other words, people often think about what they want to say without fully listening to what the other person is saying. When someone is speaking, avoid trying to come up with a response and listen to them. By listening to understand, you practice being empathetic. Through empathetic listening, you open the doors to gaining a deeper understanding of the talker.
- Be Respectful— It’s normal to disagree with someone, but being a good listener means inviting their point of view without having the urge to get your point of view across. It respects the person’s opinion even though it may differ from yours. Don’t judge; let them finish their thoughts without worrying that you will jump to conclusions.
- Avoid Interrupting— We tend to interrupt someone for various reasons, such as wanting to insert an opinion or maybe we are excited about what they are saying. Interrupting less not only improves the flow of the conversation, but it ensures that the other person feels heard and respected. Avoid talking over and cutting them off, as it can offend them.
Listening is a powerful communication skill that allows you to connect with others.
When we don’t listen, we fail to understand each other, and when we fail to understand each other, it can often lead to conflict and misunderstandings.
We can all practice being better listeners by creating a safe space for the other person to speak their mind. When we establish this space for them, not only will they feel respected and heard, but they will most likely do the same for you.
YOU will feel better as a stronger listener.