More and more we are busy, very busy. As a consequence we read and write quickly and superficially, because it seems that we are always in a hurry.
When we have meetings with other people, we are also in a rush. We have difficulty in concentrating and paying attention to what the other person in trying to say. Our minds are thinking about the past (what happened before this meeting) and thinking about the future (what do we want the outcome to be of this meeting or even preparing for the next meeting). We are rarely in the now with our attention.
Proper listening is an art. When we really master this art we can establish lasting relationships and faster achieve results. Why is this the case? The consequence of inappropriate listening is a lot of miscommunication, which consumes (a lot) more time and energy.
So, what are some rules for proper listening?
· Be open and receptive
Questions prepared mentally before they are asked will disrupt the flow and not follow the interest of the other person. Far better to hear the person through and then pause if necessary while the next appropriate question comes to mind.
· Listen ‘empty’
Have no judgments or opinions in your mind. Forget aloud how this other person reacted in the past. Have no expectations at all.
· Listen with your heart as well as with your head.
What do you feel? How does this conversation touches you?
· Look at the body language
Is the body language in line with the message or do you perceive a disconnect?
· Pay attention
Write as few notes as possible, otherwise you miss valuable parts of the conversation.
A great tool to support your listening is the Pulse smartpen (check out www.livescribe.com). This pen records everything what is being said. So, you can later go back to what was literally said. If you touch the key words, which you have noted, you get instantly the recording! So, you don’t have to be afraid that you miss something. You can even download the (MP3) file to your computer, so you can share your conversations with others.
For example this pen is a fantastic tool for sales representatives and marketers (when talking with customers and prospects), for journalists (when interviewing), for business people (in negotiations), for lawyers (in preparing cases) and for students (in seminars).
Please remember that listening forms 40% to 50% of any communication, so it is crucial to be a great listener!
This is emphasized by a thoughtful poem from Ralph Roughton called “On Listening”.
‘When I ask you to listen to me and you start by giving advice, you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as it may seem.
Listen! All I ask is that you listen, not talk or do...just hear me.
When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.
And I can do for myself. I'm not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.
But when you accept as simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince you and get about the business of understaning what's behind this irrational feeling. And when that's clear, the answers are obvious and I don't need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what's behind them.
Perhaps that's why prayer works, sometimes, for some people...because God is mute, and He doesn't give advice or try to fix things. God just listens and lets you work it out yourself.
So, please listen and just hear me. And if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn, and I'll listen to you.’
GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!