The hardest part of communicating is, ironically, listening not speaking but listening is seldom taught and many people are not good at it. This article by Dorene Lehavi will help you improve your communication skills through being a better listener.
- Listen without judgement. The key to good communication is listening well. Save your judging for later after you have heard and understood what was said.
- Listen with the willingness to be swayed to the other person's opinion. Without any obligation to actually being swayed, stay open to the option.
- Listen without thinking about what you will say next. Take time before you respond.
- Do not be invested in being right. Being right is not the point. If you must be right, you are not able to listen or communicate because you have set up a barrier already. If you are always right that means the other person is always wrong. That cannot be true.
- If your mind wanders, ask for repetition. We all are subject to distraction. Try to stay focused.
- In all cases repeat back what you heard and ask if it is correct.
- Listen to yourself. Find quiet moments and pay attention to what you are hearing from yourself. Does your body tighten up about certain issues? Body language is not something to read only in other people.
- Understand and acknowledge that most things are not black or white, but somewhere in a gray area. Get comfortable with gray.
- Reply honestly, but with consideration for the listener's feelings. Be polite, respectful and sincere.
- Have integrity and build trust. Don't say what you don't mean. Don't promise what you won't or can't fulfil. Follow through with any commitments you make.
Good listening skills take practice. Specific coaching may be necessary if you find you have communication issues with your boss, colleagues, subordinates, partners or personal relationships.
Dorene Lehavi, Ph.D. is principal of Next Level Business and Professional Coaching. She coaches Professionals and Business Partners and teaches teleclasses on techniques to break through barriers to the next level. Dr. Lehavi offers a complimentary coaching session so you can experience how coaching can work for you.