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One of the most important points to keep in mind in our quest to be better listeners is that it is a skills that can enhance the quality of our lives. And it is even more important to keep in mind that the simple act of listening doesn’t mean we have to believe what we hear, it just gives us a better breadth and/or depth of knowledge of the situation and the of the person who is speaking.
In fact, being an effective listener is a strategy to strengthen one’s knowledge base because when all sides of an issue are known, we are better able to make the decision that is right for us.
Last week, five benefits of listening were shared, and today, I’d like to show you six steps on how to be an effective listener on a regular basis. Many of these points will be reminders, but it doesn’t hurt to bring them to our attention so that we may be cognizant of the impact our seemingly simple actions have on those around us and the relationships we are a part of either professionally or personally.
In order listen without filtering what is being said, we must put aside any judgment we may have about the speaker, the situation or the environment in which we are in. Admittedly, all humans have some sort of bias, some sort of preference, no matter how slight, but to be able to recognize the value of what is being said, we must rise above our set preferences. By doing so, we are opening ourselves up to learning, growing and maybe, just maybe, seeing something different than we initially would have expected.
As individuals, only we can open our own minds up and let new ways of thinking in. Now, keep in mind, just because we let new thoughts in, doesn’t mean we have to agree with them. After all, the best offense is to know and understand what the other side believes and why they believe it. However, this understanding can only happen when we take responsibility for our own growth, and put down our barriers of resistance. The beauty of this realization is that when we stop blaming others, we often times become more sympathetic as to why people believe what they believe or behave the way they do. Remember, knowledge is power. If you can fathom he thought process and reasoning of the other side, you’ve conquered half the battle, and the best part is, you are the only other remaining half.
Last but not least, when in doubt as to how to be a better listener, we must ask ourselves this question: How would I want someone to act around me if I was talking to them? It seems like a simple question, but it always amazes me how so many people are consumed with their own thoughts, so much so that they are unable to get out of their own bubble for a moment and listen to someone else’s story, worries or thoughts. The Golden Rule is applicable in so many situations that we may at first not know how to deal with, but if we think about it, at the core, we all want to be treated with kindness, to be treated as though we matter to the person who has our attention if only for a moment.
So in all that we do, let’s try to live and be present in the moment we are in at any given point during the day. We might be surprised as to the positive impact this can have on all of our relationships. Have a lovely Wednesday.