Truly how are you communicating...do you know what communication is? Do you know what effective communication is? Do you know there are just 2 aspects to communication. That's right just 2. I'll get into them in a sec but first I want to mention there may only be two but that doesn't mean effective communication is easy. There are a few things that you have to do to have effective communication. Notice I keep using the word effective. Many people attempt to communicate but many times they flounder because many times they just want to here themselves talk or don't care to listen and when those things happen that's when effective communication goes out the window. I'll be ther first person to say I don't always communicate effectively...as my wife says and I've noticed...I'm a guy...if I'm not communicating about food or sports then my communication tends to lack.....seriously though...we all can work on increasing the effectiveness of our communication!
And there you have it! I just told you the 2 parts of communication...did you catch it? The two parts are "sending information and receiving information". Did you know we send and receive information utilizing all 5 senses. And did you know over 80% of all communication is non-verbal...and did you know the hardest part of communication is receiving and understanding information or LISTENING WELL !!!
That is what I am going to focus on today is listening. I am going to give you 10 keys to help improve your listening skills. I truly want more people to have the ability to listen to understand not just respond.
1. Stop Talking- it is almost impossible to talk and listen (effectively) while you're talking. When we open our mouths to talk our ears tend to close....Ask any teacher and they will tell you!
2. Prepare yourself to listen-focus on the message being communicated to you. Focus on the speaker. Put down your phone, don't look at the clock-eliminate the distractions and concentrate on the message in the moment.
3.-Make the sender/speaker the focus- make eye contact but don't stare- show you are listening and understanding; put the needs and concerns of the speaker first.
4.-Remove Distractions- put your phones down( reiterating point 2), don't fidget, don't fiddle with your thumbs, etc etc...un-necessary movements distract your attention and display that you are not paying attention to the speaker and/or are bored.
5.-Empathise- try to understand the point of view being given without judgment. You don't need to agree how ever understanding the point of view will help you construct a respectful and educated rebuttal. By having an open mind we can more fully empathise with the speaker
6.-Be patient- wait for the speaker to finish their message. People take their own time and way to get a message across. Give them that time and space. Don't interrupt or finish their sentences.
7.Avoid personal prejudice- do the best you can to NOT judge- Everyone is different from voice inflection, to dialects, to languages, to mannerisms, etc-Focus on the message being sent not on its delivery or style.
8.-Listen to the tone- Speakers/communicators will use both volume and tone. This will have an affect on the message being sent. Everybody will use pitch, tone and volume of voice in certain situations – these may or may not help you to understand the message but being attentive to their use will help in deciphering the message.
9.-Listen to ideas not just words- Listen to the whole idea not just a bit here and a bit there. As mentioned before also eliminate distractions. With proper concentration and focus these concepts will improve.
10.-Pay attention to non-verbal cues- As I mentioned before 80% of communication is non-verbal. Use your other senses-smell, sight, in some cases touch and even taste-we don't just listen/ receive information with our ears.
If these skills are utilized on a regular basis our listen skills and abilities will improve.
Remember...I AM THE DIFFERENCE !!!