The world is changing and people is changing with it! We are living in a fast spinning world we feel dizzy, not knowing what to do. Though, we would like to lead this new “wave” or at least “surf” it properly, but how can we do it? Well a lot of things must be done in order to help those who want to do something about it. Well, I find “listen” a very important skill regarding all of these.
I am sure that in this new stage relationships are more important than ever. The internet and web allowed a lot of worldwide conversations brining people together readier to interact and share. Listening is in this sense a key aspect, a skill and behaviour that will make the difference when you are networking and creating or being part of your communities. Nowadays one does not need to be physically present to cause an impact or inspire people. And in my point of view, those who will be able to lead and link people will make the difference. Those with the ability to listen, bond and link with people will possess an incomparable advantage, they will be able to inspire people to change and improve. They will be able to help not only their companies or circles of influence but also more distant people through internet.
Listen is just one part of the communication “triangle”, and where speak and write are the other two. Each of these three vertices has its own importance and must adapt to the situation at hand in order efficiently communicate. Problem is that we like to talk and write more than listen losing that way great opportunities to innovate or change, and failing to understand why things are happening.
What does properly communicate mean? Well, not listening properly lead to “different” sender’s intention and meaning that forms in the receiver’s mind generating a gap and misunderstandings. Can you imagine what is going one out there? No. I can tell you, out there you will find a lot of people not communicating, and generating noise instead of a two-way communication where both people understand what is being said.
I believe that a lot of the problems and misunderstandings within companies are the result of a deficient listening. Listening is a must if you want to be a leader and not only a manager or a follower. In a world where Social networking is key, without listening skills you are “dead”.
Listening is a key skill. How can one improve it?
Try to follow these steps:
- Pay attention;
- Encourage the other person to talk
- Use silence to allow the speaker time to reflection and new thoughts ;
- Clarify the speaker’s meaning;
- Reflect (clarify) intentions and feelings and respond in line with the speakers
- Respond to questions and requests honestly, and thoughtfully
- Turn one-way communication (e-mail, written docs…) in two-way communication
Here are some habits that you should start with:
- Show interest
- Encourage the other person to say more
- Don’t agree or disagree
- Notice when you are thinking or talking to yourself, and come back
- Get comfortable with silence moments in order to avoid rushing in to fill it
- Don’t fake understanding
- Avoid one-way communication (written communication)