Hello again! This is part 3 of this series about the rewards of really listening. (Go to PART 1 or PART 2 of this series.) As I mentioned in the last article, this skill can be learned. Last time we discussed three key elements of listening.
The first three key elements we mentioned are:
1) Anyone can learn to be a good listener.
2) Listening is active.
3) Listening means turning off the noise inside our heads.
Today we’ll discuss two more keys to developing this important skill so you can reap the benefits of it in your life and business.
Listening means no defenses. Sometimes, when someone tells us something we don’t want to hear, we shut down. Or we lash out or justify. Genuine listening requires setting aside our emotional responses and the need to defend ourselves. Perhaps we believe the talker doesn’t have the story right or is being unfair; that’s okay because it’s her story, and it’s not about right or wrong, fact or fiction.
Listening is not selfish. Listening takes considerable time—and who has a lot of that? But giving that time to someone is an act of love. When you listen, ignore distractions and the urge to interrupt with your own awesome story (called “hijacking the conversation”). As author Michael Nichols puts it, “Listening isn’t a need we have; it’s a gift we give.”
Real listening comes from the heart. It’s a gift we give to others to let them know how much we care. Think about how you can give this gift today? Pay attention to how well you are listening. Developing this important skill will greatly improve your relationships, your business, and your life.