Do you want to be a more effective communicator?
I sure do.
That’s why I’m always looking for ways to improve my communication.
Good communication is the basis for successful careers, marriages, and families.
Unfortunately, most people are terrible listeners.
How Do We Get People To Listen?
First thing we need to realize is that we (you and I) are “most people.”
We are all poor listeners… so much so that we don’t even know what we’re missing.
The Bible says we should be quick to listen and slow to speak. (James 1:19)
So in order to become better communicators, we need to be better listeners. The secret to becoming a better listener is in tuning in before turning on. Let me explain.
In order for someone to hear you, they need to feel like they’ve been heard.
For example, many times I’ve rushed into a room and said, “I’m in a hurry. Here are five things I need you to do.”
Then as I list my requests, I feel like my words are bouncing off the other person’s psychological armor.
I say “psychological armor” because people have a tendency to put up a shield when they feel like you don’t care to hear about their concerns, issues, or problems.
Even as authority figures (parents, managers, and corporate leaders), we need to listen in order to be heard.
We Should Lead By Example
If we take the time to listen, then our children, spouses, and employees will do the same.
As leaders, we need to engage in deep listening.
Deep listeners are successful because they are able to ascertain what is on a person’s heart and mind.
You see, the Bible says out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45), so if you give people an opportunity to speak, you will find out what is in their heart.
On the flip side, it’s extremely difficult to communicate with people when we don’t give them our full attention.
The Next Time You’re In The Middle Of A Conversation Take Note Of What’s Going On Inside Your Head
While most of us are physically present, a lot of us are focused on what we’re going to say next while the other person is talking. We all do it.
As leaders, we need to tune into the other person before we turn on our response.
“He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame.” –Proverbs 18:13 (NIV)
Leader’s Tip: Even if you think you know the answer, and even if you’re in a hurry, try taking three seconds after the other person stops talking before you begin talking.
A Conversation Is Not A Competition
In the real world, there’s no such thing as winning the conversation. Communication is not like what you see on CNN, Fox News or MSNBC.
People prefer to be lead and not pulled. No one wants to feel like their opinion doesn’t count.
Leader’s Tip: If you disagree with someone, don’t dismiss their statements outright. Look for areas where you can agree then affirm those areas before inserting your point of view.
If You Don’t Know, Then Ask
Have you ever said something that’s come out the wrong way?
We all do. That’s why it’s important for a good listener to verify what the other person is trying to say. The best way to make sure they said what you thought they said is by asking questions.
Leader’s Tip: Ask questions to get a clear understanding of the other person’s point of view before you offer your response.
If you take today’s blog to heart, you will be amazed by how much your relationships will improve.
I pray we all become better listeners because good listening is the key to successful relationships.