Here’s a broad question. What does communication mean to you?
While this is a question worth answering for yourself, to me, a huge part of effective communication has to do with listening. Often, I remind myself of the value of listening well, and it seems to be a popular topic in media too. Effective listening adds value to all interactions with others, whether it be a professional or personal relationship.
The big benefit is this, listening helps you truly hear another person’s perspective, and creates an opportunity where understanding another will likely help you get what you want as well. Here is an article that points to the benefit of listening with intention, although I think the author’s conclusion that listening to others’ will ultimately help you be “like-able” is simplistic (and not the end goal), yet the author does have a point that listening is important in every setting.
If you are the image of perfection in the listening arena, stop reading. Meanwhile, the rest of us will refer to the following pointers for listening well. One of the best ways to receive someone else’s message is to practice active listening. This is:
- listening, without forming a response
- eye contact and nodding, etc. to demonstrate listening
- give feedback, by repeating what you hear to confirm you understand the speaker
- limit distractions, try to remain focused on the speaker
This active listening behavior will encourage others to identify you as a safe person to speak with, a solutions oriented individual, and one who seeks to understand and clarify when others speak. (Editorial alert, who wouldn’t like to be perceived as this sort of person and listened to in this way?!) There is certainly an appropriate time to speak, to be sure, yet listening is a best practices skill that defuses or resolves emotionally charged situations, while promoting more meaningful relationships overall.
At this point, I hope you have a renewed intention to listen. Remember to listen, as it is a key aspect of communication.
Photo Source: http://theyec.org/business-leaders-are-you-listening-or-talking/