Many people believe the ability to speak articulately is an important prerequisite to achievement. Communication is a two way process, sending and receiving, Disraeli noted, “Nature has given us two ears but only one mouth.” Use them proportionately. This is not to minimize the significance of good speech habits but to bring attention to listening our empathy skill.
Use these several listening tips to help you connect with people.
1. Take the time to listen. Often we are “multitasking” or distracted with our own thoughts, we only pretend to listen. Take the time concentrate. By being in the moment you can learn and expand your knowledge.
2. Be attentive. Everyone feels his or her words and thoughts are valuable. Whether you agree or not lack of attention is disrespectful to the individual. If you only hear the words and not understand the context the meaning will be lost. Focus on the words that are being said as well as the emotions and feelings that are expressed.
3. Listen with an open mind. When you open your mind to the other person’s point of view, you have a better chance of understanding what they are trying to say. If you do this for the other person, chances are they will listen to your point of view.
4. Listen for feelings. People tend to repeat those things that are important to them. Listen not only to what they say but how they say it. 85% of effective communication is something other than the words we say. Voices express emotion through pitch, intonation, hesitation, and speed of delivery. Facial, body and non-verbal clues speak volumes.
5. Listen for retention. Have you ever wanted to share a good joke that you heard, but simply couldn’t remember anything but the punch line? If you do not consciously convey to your mind the thought that you hear, you will recall little of what is said. As you listen, verbally summarize the highlights occasionally to reinforce your understanding of the topic and to assist your memory.
Use these helpful hints regularly in your communication efforts. The skills will only be effective when they come from a sincere desire to understand. If people feel that you’re trying to manipulate them, you will lose their trust. People want you to believe in them, just as you want them to believe in you. When you display empathy for another human being, you heighten self-respect. Add this trait to your list of personal goals; it will reward you with a lifetime of meaningful relationships.
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