Strengthening your skills in listening is the foundation for ensuring that you “get” the exact message people are communicating to you.
Listening involves taking the responsibility to actively participate in receiving and “decoding” information you receive and is just as important, if not moreso, than delivering the information.
Everyone likes to talk about themselves. In order to effectively LISTEN, you need to be open to provoking the stuff they want to share with you. Consider asking the WIIFM (What’s in it for me) questions…
- What are the challenges you’re facing?
- What is the most important thing to YOU about this project?
- What would be your most desired outcome?
- How can we both help make this work for you?
- Tell me about why you reacted that way?
Gaining insight to someone else’s point of view, whether at home or in the boardroom, can create your ammunition and strategy for the positive outcome you both seek.
Some more tips on getting the most out of your conversations:
- Avoid competing for response time. Don’t focus on getting a turn to speak, but rather on understanding where the other person is coming from.
- Always ask for clarification when you do not understand what has been said. Take the responsibility for not understanding – never blame a mis-communication on someone else’s ability to send the message correctly.
- Be on the lookout for the opportunity to gauge & assess body language and non-verbal cues. These are clues to better understanding where someone’s coming from.
- Don’t jump into the conversation if someone briefly pauses for effect; make sure they have finished communicating their point before you comment on it.
- Try minimizing how often you interrupt by saying “Oh me too!”. While this does create a connection with the speaker, if done too frequently it may also be seen as an attempt to turn the focus back to you.
Do you use your two ears and one mouth accordingly, as the old adage says?