Are you listening? What?

You can’t learn anything by continuing to talk. In fact, while most people look like they are listening, all they are really doing is waiting for another opportunity to talk. So, stop talking so much and start listening more. It is how you connect. It is how you really discover what is on everyone’s mind. It is how you understand. Developing deep listening skills is one of the greatest weapons you can develop to truly help your business, and your life, succeed.

  • Everyone is capable of deep listening. While it is simple in concept it does appear rather more difficult in execution. The key to it all is actually being there; being where you actually are. Not thinking about what happened yesterday or what you are going to have for dinner. You must make eye contact and hold it and actually be where you are. You must listen to that person like it is the last time you will ever see them again. If you are anywhere else, you are not listening. You are just waiting to go to lunch.
  • It is not a discussion or an argument. You are simply listening to what the other man or woman has to say. Most times, there is no reason to even comment. Especially if you were not asked for your opinion. It is a matter of respect. You are not waiting for another chance to talk. If anything, ask questions that will help clarify what is being said. It shows you are present. It shows you actually are listening.
  • Lean in and smile. Even nod from time to time. Visualize how you would want someone to be poised if you wanted them to listen to you. When you are listening, it is not about you; it is about them. Don’t come back with some pithy comment about what happened to you one time in a similar situation. Believe it or not, they don’t care and you have stopped listening. Turning this opportunity to better know someone into a conversation about you will be the best way to ensure that the person will unlikely come to you again about anything.
  • Actually be determined in your mindset. Actually know that you will be there for someone. You will be helpful to them. You have helped them feel better than they did before they decided to speak with you. Being able to concentrate, being able to be actually present for the other person, is the only way you will ever really know someone else. It is the best way to begin to understand everyone in your life whether it is your significant other, your children, your friends and neighbors or your customers and clients. There is no greater skill to possess. The proverbial “good listener” will always be someone who is greatly valued by others.

-Written by Kevin Sawyer