Have you ever been in a conversation with a person that just kept talking? Has there been a time where there was no break in the words, for you to get your point across? I know that I have. In fact, I used to be one of those people that felt I had to keep talking.
The years of personal growth and developing better skills have helped me to understand the power of listening, especially in a business setting. But it is such a powerful skill for all relationships.
I have a client who comes in every couple of months. When he does, I know that the conversation will be dominated by what he has to share. Some folks just love to talk. Early in our relationship, I would struggle to get a word in or create a break to interject my thoughts or opinion. I have learned to be patient and just listen. I believe this simple skill of zipping my lip and truly listening has allowed me to understand this client better. Our relationship has flourished and business has followed.
I think there is a simple reason for this…people lack the skill of truly listening. It definitely requires a conscious effort to push back what you may want to share so that you can focus all of your attention on the person you are conversing with. When you learn to listen intently and find peace in the silence (if there is any), you will gain such insight. People want to be heard, understood and feel important. The skill of listening can do this. The result will be better and deeper relationships. People will look forward to when you cross their path. I don’t have to tell you that this is incredibly powerful.
Here are a few ideas to help improve your listening skills:
• When in a conversation, try to avoid distractions so that your full attention in focused on the person you are with.
• Learn to love the moment of silence. Silence provides an opportunity for you improve your listening skills. Don’t chime in even though it may be killing you. See what happens when the person you are chatting with can freely think for a few seconds and gather thoughts.
• When there is a break or silence, ask an open-ended question that will reveal something of importance in learning about the other person. What, how and why are great ways to begin a question.
I have seen the power of listening in action as I have learned to refine this skill. It is still not easy for me and I do interject in conversations. I just find that when I am able to just be there, available and present, my relationships are more meaningful.
Give it a try and let me know what you find. I would love your feedback on this information as well as anything you would find valuable.