One of the most common issues most business teams face is poor communication. We are always asked to give teams some new tools, but the first and most important tool is to become a better listener.
Here’s a series of practices that will help you become a better listener, which in turn, will help you become a better communicator and have a more cohesive and productive team.
1. Practice Self-Discipline
Learn to be able to shut up. Practice self-discipline in being able to catch yourself wanting to speak and forcing yourself to say nothing. Self-discipline can go a long way to becoming a better listener.
2. Learn to Allow Three Seconds to Pass
If nothing else, learn to let a few seconds pass to make sure someone is actually done speaking. You’d be amazed how this little trick can do wonders helping people feel heard.
3. Learn to Detach Yourself from Your Beliefs
Most of us feel strongly about certain things. One of the important skills of listening is to learn how to detach yourself from your beliefs and be able to step back for a moment.
4. Notice Your Reactions and Learn to Take a Deep Breath
Learn to notice your reactions. Certain words will cause emotional reactions which, in turn, will hijack the rational part of our brain. Learn to notice your reactions and take a deep breath to give yourself a chance to listen to what others are saying without becoming emotionally overheated.
5. Practice Seeing the Other Person’s Perspective as Legitimate
One of the most important things to do is to see the other person’s perspective as legitimate. It doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them. When you can bring yourself to see their viewpoint as legitimate for them it helps create the right energy for listening.
6. See Listening as a Gift You Give to Someone
Learning to listen to people generously is a great gift you can give to them. Not simply going through the motions, but really listening to what is said and unsaid in their body language. Think of listening as a gift you’re giving them. They will appreciate your gift and start giving you the same gift.
Understanding the process of listening is therapeutic and a part of the process people go through to solve a problem.
You need to realize that for many people talking through an issue is an important part of how they get to their conclusions or come up with new ways of dealing with things. All of that happens through the process of you listening and hearing them out on their ideas. Shortening the process could severely impact the overall outcome.
7. Learn to Mirror Back
One of the best techniques in listening skills is to mirror back what you’ve heard. It’s not only a great way for you to demonstrate your listening skills, it also serves as a great tool for the other person to be accountable for what they’re saying.
Communication is critical to success in life and business. Improve your listening skills and you will dramatically improve your communication, your relationships and results in life!