Be honest: during conversations, are you focused more on what the other person is saying or on formulating the next thing you are going to say? Even if you think you know the answer, I challenge you to be mindful of this during your next few conversations to validate your perception versus the reality.
As communicators, one of the greatest tools in our arsenal is the ability to listen. This is how we can gain a true understanding of the needs and interests of our audiences. This is how we learn to hone our messages to use the language our audiences use. Listening is where we succeed in our mission.
Here is a great checklist to keep in mind in your conversations:
- Open up your mind to the other person’s perspective.
- Listen before you think. Instead of thinking of what you will say next,just listen and absorb the words being said.
- Think before you speak. Reflect what you have heard and phrase things in a way that invites continuing conversation.
- Speak, remain aware and then start back at 1.
[Related: Listen Up!]