“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” ~ Bryant H. McGill
Yes, listening is a meaningful form of respect. By actively listening, we are showing the other person that we are interested in what they have to say, and that we are taking the time to understand what they are communicating because their message is important to us.
Do you think you actively listen to those around you?
Most people believe they listen effectively. Listening seems to be an easy skill, doesn’t it? The reality is that most of us have never developed the habits or skills needed to become effective listeners. Research shows that the average person listens at only about 25% efficiency – lots of room for improvement!
What is Effective Listening?
Effective Listening is processing and absorbing the information given to you by the other person you are speaking with. It shows you are interested and are able to provide feedback demonstrating that you truly heard his/her message.
Effective listening is being present in the conversation by using nonverbal cues (body language) to establish that we are engaged with the speaker and connected to the message being shared.
Effective listening isn’t about taking turns talking at each other; rather it’s about actively engaging, processing, and enjoying a two-way conversation where mutual respect is shared and appreciated.
Did You Know – Research Shows
Research has indicated that by listening more effectively we are able to become more effective leaders. Improving our listening skills enables us to gather more information from the people we lead, increasing the trust our team has in us. This skill will help to reduce conflict and increase our understanding of others, which will in turn motivate, inspire, and improve commitment from the people we lead.
So why aren’t more of us improving this skill? Bottom line, most of us agree that effective listening is important; however we are often not willing to invest the time and commit to improve our overall skill level. Here are some tips you can use to get started:
5 Easy Tips to Become a more Effective Listener:
- Stop Talking – you have two ears and one mouth so you should be listening at least twice as much as you speak!
- Be present by making eye contact, making sure your body language is open and in receptive mode to what is being said, while eliminating any distractions in your space. (Put that cell phone away!)
- Ask clarifying questions to ensure that what is being said is what you are actually understanding. This keeps you and the other person on the same page.
- Reflect or paraphrase what you think you heard the other person say. By paraphrasing (do not be a parrot!), you are showing that the other person’s message is important and you want to ensure that you are clear on that message.
- Summarize your understanding of the entire conversation and frame it out into two, three, or four key things that you understood. This helps provide clarity and allows for additional healthy discussion around any items missed previously.
To learn more information regarding active listening and how it ties in to respect, contact The Roundtable Group at www.roundtablegroup4.com