Top Ten Interpersonal Skills -5- Listen To Go Deep

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Top Ten Interpersonal Skills -5- Listen To Go Deep

August 7, 2009 Life Skills Persuasion 4

Number5 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!

Be well,

Rick

 

4 Responses

  1. Amit K says:

    Rick,

    I work with a huge multilateral international organization where workshops and speeches on self-improvement, communication, soft (the hardest) skills lurk at every corner. I have learned to dodge them.

    So, here’s something from the artless dodger: I was quickly drawn in by what you had to say. Someone who had recently attended one of your sessions had sent the link to me. I had to oblige her by first pretending to take it seriously. I ended up reading all of it.

    I enjoyed your thoughts. After a long time I saw something profound, effective, yet simple. I am not sure I can attend your sessions because I work from India, but hope I will some day somewhere.

    I have a few thoughts to share, but shall refrain for now. Though tempted, I won’t take more of your time. But if you’d like to listen, would be happy to tell you some homegrown managerial wisdom I learned from a poor Indian woman recently. It has to do with underwear.

    Regards,
    Amit

  2. Dr. K says:

    Amit,

    Thanks for your comment and positive feedback about my blog, it is much appreciated. No need to hold out, speak your mind! I’m interested in hearing some homegrown managerial wisdom learned from a poor Indian woman that has to do with underwear. Specifically, what underwear, and being poor, have to do with her managerial wisdom!

    Best wishes,
    Rick

  3. rita says:

    Hi Rick,
    the topic you just touched with #5 reminds me of a very interesting book, unfortunately it is only offered in German, by the author >Friedemann Schulz von Thun by pointing out the facts only.
    How do we up-set people?
    –> By throwing personal facts in their face. (affront, attack)
    Got the idea?

    I really wish this book would be available in English!! You´d love it.
    Schulz von Thun printed one important sentence in this book:
    >almost none mentions something by way of conversation<
    (hope I did translate it with the meaning of it)
    What he meant was: whenever we talk, we send messages about our deeper thinking/experience. And that´s true!

    best,
    rita

  4. BPO Consultant says:

    Nice site, you know after 4 years of studies I guess I have to admit I was wrong about this. Thanks for opening my eyes!

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