Most people listen with 25% effectiveness. Think about that. It’s no wonder why there is so much miscommunication in the workplace! You CAN increase your listening effectiveness. How? Clear your mind, and yes, that is easier said than done. Start by putting your phone and devices out of sight and out of hearing range. Now focus on what the other person is saying WITHOUT planning your next question or statements.
What else to try? Avoid interruptions. Let the person tell their story. If you are in a room with distractions, change the setting. Listening should not be taken for granted. It requires focus, practice, and more practice to effectively hear what someone is sharing with you.
The bonus is that if you listen more, people will want to listen to you more.
I am sure you are wondering if I’m doing all the listening, is it really a conversation? Yes, it is. Most of us have already had a great deal of practice talking, it’s time to put more focus on listening. When the latter is done well, you will be more adept at balancing the two.
How to start? At your next meeting, commit to listening more. During the meeting, each time a thought about what you want to say pops in your mind, push it away so that you will just keep listening to what others are saying. It will take a great deal of effort to do this. Even if the other person pauses, resist the temptation to fill that silence with your words. Listen to the silence and keep your focus on what the other person is sharing. Keep reminding yourself to LISTEN MORE.