Keeping Your Ears Open
Your alarm is going off. As you lay there, just for a moment, you contemplate your next move. You think about your “to-do” list that’s floating above your head, and you think about how you will tackle everything on it, and in what order. You make sure everyone’s fed. You then make sure you’re at least a little nourished (and caffeinated), and before you know it, your day is well in motion and you are going, going, going. Sometimes it feels like there’s a magnet pulling you to each errand or meeting, or thing you have to do each day. You’re practically a robot on autopilot. Your brain is telling you to do, do, do. But have you listened to anyone today? I mean, really listened? You may have to try it. It just might be what you need to make your day feel less robotic, and more vivacious.
The Huffington Post recently accentuated the “5 Skills of Really Amazing Listeners” as:
1. Be Present - We are too accustomed to only having half of someone’s attention these days. Un-plug yourself from your smartphone, and give people the gift of your full attention. Not only is is respectful … it will give you an opportunity to pay attention to what they’re saying.
2. Turn Down the Inner Voice - Try not to jump to assess what you’ve heard. Let yourself actually hear out what you hear. Let it sink in before you pounce all over it.
3. Hold up a Mirror - Let who you are engaging with know that you are fully engrossed in what they are telling you … It’s completely ok to be accurate.
4. Ask for Clarification - Don’t be afraid to further inquire! Believe it or not, people appreciate the interaction. Plus, you just might learn more about a person’s perspective on something (and perhaps your own as well).
5. Establish Follow-up - Make them feel heard. Let people know that you valued what they’ve shared with you.
As I read the HuffPost article in its entirety, I couldn’t help but peruse down the list of the five skills, and really honestly grill myself on whether or not I partake in each one. I invite you to try taking a trip down this list and doing the same. While you may be a star listener at heart, it doesn’t hurt to think about being better. We live in a bustling world, and just maybe, listening to others could make it a better place.
How do your listening skills stack up?