During this unprecedented point in world history, I want to focus on some key skills that will help us all build better relationships with one another. I hope this will be helpful for families now spending far more time together than 'normal' life usually sees, to co-workers who are now having to work remotely... everyone!
Being a good listener will *definitely* help you lead a happier life, both in the short and long term!
All too often we are far more enthusiastic about talking than we are listening. Yet it is so vital if we are to communicate effectively. Most break downs in relationships are caused because people talk at each other without really making contact. Unless someone hears what has been said including the subtext the words have little value.
When we are actively listened to we feel valued and are far more likely to engage in negotiation and compromise. Listening is about far more than words. Watching facial expression and body language is often a far more accurate barometer than the words that are being used. Nice things being said where the smile doesn’t reach the eyes is an obvious example.
10 tips to becoming a more effective listener
- Make eye contact.
- Read the body language of the talker. Are they relaxed, anxious, angry? Extremes are easy to recognize but often the message is much more subtle
- Mirror the talker’s body language- subtly, a gentle dance rather than a caricature.
- To be an effective listener it is vital that you listen actively
- Show that you are listening, nod, make appropriate responses
- Ask relevant questions, ask them to clarify if you are not clear about their meaning
- Summarize: "So what you are saying is………."
- Be careful of the tone of your voice when you respond or ask questions. It is all too easy to come across as judgmental or as an interrogator from the Spanish Inquisition
- Use empathy. Acknowledge difficulties, but be careful not to fall into the trap of going into anecdotes from your experience. “ I sense that you are finding this rather difficult” rather than “Oh I know, it happened to me but mine was bigger, more difficult, etc”
- Take a real interest, if you are simply going through the motions the lack of sincerity will be obvious to others. Leave your ego behind, concentrate on the other person.
This is relatively basic stuff - but no less important because of that. I hope you find it of use.
If you feel like you would like more help and assistance to become better at listening or leading - through the good times that will be returning, as well as these currently hard times, then please get in touch with me. You can also check out my new Enlightened Leadership Programme at https://enlightenedleadership.co/