HEARING IS NOT LISTENING

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Effective Communications

 

Requires EFFORT!

 

If you’re willing to put out the extra effort because clear, concise and accurate communications is important to you and your business, be prepared to take a more active listening role. As you may need to project yourself more assertively, be equally conscious of the need to become a better listener.

Resist the temptation to skip ahead in your mind while someone else is speaking. Stop trying to imagine what’s next and, perhaps even worse, stop reviewing in your mind over and over what has already been said. You can always check that later, or simply interrupt to request a once-over on the part you missed or didn’t understand.

When your mind races ahead of what’s being said, or drags behind to mull over something that has already passed by, you miss the present moment and the statements that are being made, as well as the nuances of expression and intonations that give the words their true meaning. You must work at staying focused and not allowing your mind to drift.

How can you keep your listening and comprehension skills on the front burner? Follow these four simple rules of good listening:

  1. TAKE DEEP BREATHS. Just as flames die without oxygen, so will your ability to keep focused on the present moment die out when your “normal” way of breathing fails to get enough oxygen to your brain. By deep breathing (which no one needs to notice if you practice it enough), you will also be prompted to not cross your arms or legs or hands…all signals that subconsciously tell the speaker that you are mentally “closed off” and not receptive; often these nonverbal signals communicate defensiveness as well.

  2. TAKE NOTES. Writing down what you hear keeps your brain uncluttered by getting the words from the speaker through your ears, into your brain and down your arms into your hands and fingers and onto paper (or your keyboard, if appropriate for the setting and circumstances). You can keep your notes and look at them anytime without the distraction or taxing of your memory that occurs when you carry the comments or instructions around in your mind like a ping-pong ball lottery drum filled with tumbling numbers. Taking notes helps you listen more carefully.

  3. MAINTAIN GOOD EYE CONTACT. It’s a fact that just as you can “hear” a smile, you can “see” what you hear in person. In other words, good eye contact (not staring) communicates attention and interest. You will also absorb more of what the speaker really means by the words used, by watching for gestures and facial expressions in the process. Can you look in the mirror and tell yourself how happy you are while actually communicating something else with your face, hands and posture?

  4. PARAPHRASE WHAT YOU HEAR by repeating back what you got from it in your own words, and in the form of a question. “Do I understand you correctly to mean that…?” (finish the question with your own words, interpreting what you think you understood). “If I understand you correctly, you’re saying…is that right?” works fine too. The speaker will be flattered. Asking for examples is another great technique.

The point is to take responsibility for listening carefully and taking notes and repeating back things to clarify and make sure that what is said is what you heard. It’s YOUR job to be sure that YOU’RE right, right?

# # #

Hal@Businessworks.US or 931.854.0474

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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One Comment to “HEARING IS NOT LISTENING”

  1. […] “effective communication is only 7% verbal. 38%,” he says, “is (transmitted) by your tone of voice, and 55% is through non-verbal body language.” […]

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