Being Human Works!
Remember to listen ...
POSTED BY DEBRA STEVENS ON 04/06/2020 @ 8:00AM
Let go of your attachment to being right, and suddenly you're being human and your mind is open. You're able to benefit from the unique viewpoints of others ...
Listen to understand rather than to respond and you're on your way to being human!
copyright: fizkes / 123rf
Ralph Marston said that, and in my new book, called 'Being Human' (coming out this year), listening skills are high on the list of future key skills. There is no bigger barrier to listening and understanding than the need to be right.
How many times have you been in a debate or discussion with someone and all you can think about is what you are going to say to counter their argument and prove your right?
Not only does this stop mutual respect and appreciation of others, but the worst-case scenario is also it that it can destroy relationships. How many families have been split, customers lost, and colleagues alienated because someone didn't listen?
We all see things through different filters based on personality preferences, personal values, beliefs, culture and experiences. We may often come up against people that have very different filters to us, but that doesn't make them wrong and us right, just different.
If we take the time to let go and stay focused on being curious, it's incredible the difference in the results. Of course, it might not change our viewpoint, but the generosity we have shown to someone else by genuinely hearing them is always appreciated and strengthens relationships.
Below are my tips (and I am most definitely not perfect!) on how to let go and just listen:
Breathe - I know it sounds simple and yes it keeps you alive but it's also a really good way to give your self-space so you are more in the moment to listen.
Give yourself permission - Sometimes this is all it takes to allow your self to be open and to forget being competitive, remind yourself winning is understanding.
Ask questions and really listen to the answers - Ask questions that help you understand and have no agenda, follow up on their answers and reflect back your understanding. If you find your self asking questions like, "Don't you think it would be better if ..." You are slipping back into your agenda, this is a closed leading question and to be avoided.
Watch the 'but' and its softer cousin 'however' - Empathy and expressing understanding is great, when you follow with a but or however then the chances are you didn't mean it, for example, "I think you have a really valid point, however, you might want to ..." or, "I understand how hard that must be for you, but we all have difficult situations ...". The but and however either undermine what you said immediately before it or highlight that you didn't mean it in the first place.
Its all about intent - You are allowed to disagree! Of course, you are, but be clear ... are you wanting to be open and understand the other person or are you using that as an excuse to look for ways to counter their argument and have no intention of hearing their side?
Have the courage to be wrong - If you do all of the above then you might just find yourself with information that gives you a different viewpoint. It takes guts to admit you're wrong even if you don't express that outwardly; just admitting it to yourself can be enough.
Finally a word of caution! Being human and listening carefully takes a lot of hard work, and you won't always be rewarded with a hug or a thank you; you may find people are not as generous back. You have to ask yourself what type of person do you want to be and use that as your driver to change your behaviour.
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If you'd like to learn more about listening or my new book Being Human, do give me a call on 01908 511 062, leave a comment below, or click here to ping over an email and let's see how I can help you.
About Debra Stevens ...
I'm the founder of DTS, which was established in 1996. A highly successful experiential training company specialising in facilitating behavioural change in all aspects of dealings with people, whether in customer service, sales, management or with colleagues and teammates.
I've managed large contracts such as Pearson Education, Coca Cola, Penguin Books, Accenture, and Santander for over 21 years and have built up excellent relationships with key sponsors of all aspects of the businesses.
I'm a successful trainer, writer and speaker with nearly 30 years' experience of training people at all levels.
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