Archive for March, 2011

Got something to say? Try listening!

The most underused communication

You don’t need to read a business improvement article to know that the quality of your relationships (business or otherwise) will depend on the quality of your communication. (But please keep reading anyway!)

So we know that communication is important – and I’m confident that you had some formal training in communication – right?

Reading? – You bet. Writing? – For sure. Speaking – Very likely. Listening – –what? Perhaps not?

Of all the communication processes that build trust and in-turn quality relationships, isn’t ‘listening’ the most influential one? Can you recall the last time someone did not listen to you? How did you feel? Did it frustrate you that they just wouldn’t take time to understand?

And there is the crucial difference between listening (or hearing) and active listening – or ‘Listening to understand’. The truth is, when we are in conversation with someone we are generally listening to respond – that is, thinking about what we are going to say next (my ex-wives will attest that I was great at that!)

Like all communications, listening is a skill and like all skills, it can be dramatically improved upon – if you want to improve it! And active listening does not have a down side. Depending on the discussion, you will likely;

  • gain a deeper understanding of needs
  • allow the other person to unload and thereby relax somewhat
  • appreciate why someone feels the way they do
  • get a new/broader insight into something
  • learn something
  • build rapport and trust (we all crave to be understood)

And if you need more reason to improve your active listening – ‘understanding’ someone does not compel you to agree with them – but you will understand and therefore give yourself the greatest opportunity to respond effectively and accurately.

So next time someone is annoyed with you, go ahead and give them a damn good listening to!

Yours in prosperity and fun

Jeff Austin
Actual to Ideal
Bunbury Business Coach
Jeff Austin - Business Coach Bunbury