Top Ten Interpersonal Skills -5- Listen To Go Deep
I’m blogging about the Top Ten Interpersonal Communication Skills for building positive relationships at work and at home. And another lesson I’ve learned over the years, number 5 in my top ten, is that if you’re going to bother to listen to someone, then do it well. Listen to fully understand, not just what’s at the surface of a person’s thoughts, but what’s behind their thoughts. The lesson?
Listen To Go Deep
There are at least four major benefits of listening well to people.
First, people are drawn to people who listen – It’s true, the most effective leaders, managers, parents and teachers are great listeners. People come to know them for this ability, and the result is that they provide information to good listeners more readily than they do to others.
People like to hear themselves talk. That means if you let them talk, you get some credit for giving them something they enjoy. Even people who don’t like to hear themselves talk like to hear themselves talk. Shy people, for example. They may even like it more than you do, which would explain why they save it for special occasions.
I had a woman approach me on a break during one of training programs. I had just told the group that people love to hear themselves talk. She raised her hand and said, “Not everyone. Not in Finland.” I said, “Really? How do you know? “ She siad, “I’m from there, and that’s my culture.” I said, “Gosh, please tell me more.” And she did. She talked for a little while, and then I asked her if she would come tell me the rest on the break. And she did. She talked the entire break about how Finnish people don’t love to hear themselves talk. I thought she’d never finish telling me!
Third, people are drawn to people who listen – It’s true, the most effective leaders, managers, parents and teachers are great listeners. People come to know them for this ability, and the result is that they provide information to good listeners more readily than they do to others.
And fourth, most people don’t know what they are talking about. They think they do. And if you go deeper than the surface of what they’re saying, you may find that they do. But at the surface, most people talk without giving it much thought. This accounts for all the ironic and paradoxical communications that you receive from people on a regular basis. If they don’t know what they’re talking about, and neither do you, listening well gives both of you a chance to find out what they actually mean.
Understanding occurs on two levels: Emotionally—the person feels that you understand what they are feeling—and intellectually—the person believes that you understand what they are saying. If you make a habit of listening to go deep, you’ll find fewer problem people and more enjoyment of people in general.
When you bring sincere questioning, listening, caring, and remembering together, a deeper level of connection and understanding can be achieved.
If you’re listening, you probably know what I’m going to say next. I’d love your comments and feedback about this post, this series and my blog!