Listening. It's one of the easiest things to do, and yet it's so hard for many of us. Whether you have a short attention span or need to be the first to speak up, we can all use a little reminder on how to listen, not just hear.
Seek to understand.
Ask thoughtful questions and truly listen to the responses. Don't assume you already know what your client or colleague is thinking. Sure, you may know them well, but part of growing is always being open to change and new ideas.
Forget your agenda.
Forbes says you need to forget your own agenda: "A great leader will forget about themselves and what they want when listening to someone else. When you try to dig into what the other person feels is important, then you learn far more about them."
Don't interrupt a conversation to insert your opinion - it sends the wrong message. Wait it out and watch for a natural pause in conversation before you jump in.
Put your phone away.
For heaven's sake, put your phone down. Turn it over. Don't check it. Be an active listener and fully engage in conversation. Also, many people view using your smartphone during meetings as inappropriate and disrespectful.
Everyone wants to be heard and understood. We spend so much of our time communicating that we sometimes forget the obvious. The next time you're meeting with a client or coworker, take a step back and truly listen to what they have to say. You might even identify needs that haven't been clearly articulated in prior conversations.
Active listening builds trust and that's invaluable. We see the value in listening and building relationships with our clients. If you want to be heard, reach out to our team and we'll listen and seek to fully understand your communication needs.