Wednesday, May 23, 2007
How to be a good listener???
Conversation is meant to be an exchange, but most of us focus far more on what we say, rather than what’s being said. Great listeners know how to make others feel appreciated, interesting and special-these are rare and powerful gifts. It’s easy to make communication more meaningful, and you’ll hardly have to say a word.
Focus on Understanding
Your intention might be to listen, but are you really worrying about what you’re going to say next? Most of us practise ‘selective listening’ ,world famous author and life coach Stephen Covey- we only pick up on the cues that give us a conversational entry point. Instead, concentrate on understanding what the other person is trying to convey, rather than how you’re going to answer.
Be comfortable with silence
Most of us Iranians find silence in conversations uncomfortable, and try to cover up an awkward pause with pointless chatter (or we put the Television on, and we all focus on something silly on TV). Let the speaker know they have the time and space to say what’s on their mind. Nod and maintain eye contact to show encouragement rather than interpreting a pause as a cue to take over the conversation.
Use the right cues
Using certain affirmative phrases will let the speaker know you’ve heard them, that you’ve engaged with what they’ve said and encourage them to keep talking. Paraphrasing what they’ve said (‘so, what you’re telling me is…’or,’do you mean that…’) helps the other person to clarify their thoughts and shows them that you have internalised their words.
Finding common ground is important when we’re trying to connect with someone, but resist the urge to counter everything you’re told with an anecdote from your own life. ‘people will think you want to talk about yourself (which you might), rather than realising that their situation is different, and personal to them.’
This subject is such a vast area and I think we all have something to learn as we are taking steps in this journey of life. Please do feel free to share your thoughts on this matter!!!