By now, you already know that the secret to success lies greatly in your communication skills. More than your ability to convey messages, however, is your listening skills. Strangely enough, most people confuse the true essence of listening. It’s certainly not the opposite of talking, because that would be waiting to talk. Rather, listening is a distinct communication skill that you have to develop in its own, independent of talking.
It’s a skill worth learning, too, as it will play a huge role in your success. By being a good listener, you will:
– Learn to develop friendships outside of work, as people around you will see you as a sincere and dedicated friend.
– Be more professional in dealing with others in the work setting, as you will be associated as a professional person who’s willing to hear other people’s thoughts and ideas.
– Have a more fulfilling relationship with your partner, because contrary to what you think, it’s not the lack of talking that results in the failure of relationships, but the sheer unwillingness to listen.
Given that the benefits of listening are too tempting to pass up, exactly how can you develop it?
· Identify what the person is feeling. Behind the spoken words of a person is the mood or emotional state they are in. Listen carefully to what they say, and how they are delivering it, so you can find out if they are feeling excited, sad, depressed, or happy. Knowing their emotional state will help you adjust your response properly.
· Find out the real story. The real story is more than just what the person is telling you. In fact, sometimes the real story is the precise opposite of what they’re saying, and you can only find that out by paying attention to a person’s body language. Is he fidgeting around, and even visibly shaking? Is she flinching more unusually than is normal? You might want to look at a person’s eyes as they more often than note show a person’s real story.
· Listen attentively. There’s probably no better advice than just to listen. Be genuinely interested in what the speaker is saying. Lean forward and give your undivided attention. Don’t interrupt, and let the person’s words flow through without restraint. This is necessary not just in building a level of comfort important in professional and non-professional dealings, but also in obtaining details that you need without appearing too solicitous or prying.