Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert I’m sure you’ll agree that we humans are wired for connection. As wonderful as these connections are, they’re not perfect. In my most recent post, I shared some of the conflicts I continually have with my husband Jer. While these disagreements are a great learning opportunity, many could be avoided with one simple tip–become a better listener.
One of the biggest issues, when we disagree, is that one (or both) of us doesn’t feel heard. When the tension and voices start to rise we fight to be understood. As a result, no one is listening.Behind every communication problem is a sweaty ten-minute conversation you don’t want to have. ― Gay Hendrix Click To Tweet
Becoming a better listener is one of the simplest things we can do to improve our relationships. It can also be incredibly difficult.
I’ve attended formal training to become a better listener and have coached businesses and individuals for nearly two decades. While I’ve been told by friends and strangers that I’m a great listener, I know that there are times I could do better.Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. ― Stephen R. Covey Click To Tweet
Why Focus on Listening?
We’re more connected in this modern world than at any point in history. Yet loneliness is on the verge of becoming an epidemic. So many people are longing to be heard.
The key to becoming a better listener is to focus all of your attention to what the other person is saying instead of how you are going to reply. Be truly interested in learning their point of view rather than promoting your agenda.
In many cultures, we feel like we’re expected to have all the answers. Throughout our schooling, we’re trained to speak up and show what we know. We’re rewarded for doing so by being graded on “participation.” But in the real world, it’s the listeners who have the advantage.
I could go on about being a better listener. I could tell you how to ask better questions. And I could share tips to stay focused on what the other person is saying. If you’d like to learn more, check out this post.
But what if you focused on just one thing? Being genuinely interested in what the other person has to say. Then watch all of your relationships transform.
What are your best listening tips? Share in the comments below, or come join the conversation on Facebook.