By Thomas E. Anderson, II
Hearing and listening are two different things. When you hear something, it can go in one ear and out the other. But listening requires thought and reflection. It requires you – the listener – to be fully present. Listening is a full body experience involving your ears and eyes, heart and soul often times causing you to read between the lines.
Do you remember the movie, Rush Hour, with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan? I think the funniest line in that movie is when Chris Tucker looked at Jackie Chan and said “DO YOU HEAR THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH?” That line is timeless.
If you’re a coach or in professional sales (or a “sounding board”), chances are you’re a pretty good listener. These are some tips that you can use to make stronger connection.
13 Communication Tips
- Pay attention to what your listener is saying (verbals)
- “Listen with your eyes” to what they don’t say (non-verbals).
- Figure out what your listener really means.
- Make eye contact.
- Put yourself in their shoes.
- Use phrases like “I understand how you feel”.
- Mean that phrase when you say it (people can smell BS a mile away).
- Keep an open mind.
- Let go of your stereotypes and preconceived notions.
- Respect what your listener has to say.
- Offer an alternate point of view.
- Paint a picture for them of the way you see things.
- Overlap with some things they’ve already told you.
In active listening, your goal should be to keep the lines of communication open, understand what the speaker is saying, and respond in a way that addresses the issue and edifies them at the same time. So try to avoid things that will make people disconnect. Here is a short list of habits to avoid like the plague.
Avoid the following at all costs:
- Cutting across a person while they’re talking.
- Rushing them when they are trying to think about what to say.
- Unwelcoming facial expressions.
- Starting my point of view with “but”.
- Avoid responding in anger, as anger is just a surface emotion.
Always remember that the point of listening is to get a clear picture of what’s going on. Every heard the slogan “seeing beyond money” ?
Effective listeners can “hear beyond words”.
Looking to improve your communication skills? Want to become a better listener?
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Thomas E. Anderson, II is a vision development coach who enjoys motivating and equipping individuals to pursue personal, professional and organizational goals that lead to a more fulfilling life. He specializes in life focus, vision development and goal acceleration.