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Last time we talked about communication being a two-way street. But what does that mean? It’s no use doing all the talking if you’re not being heard. And not just heard but understood.

Listening is considerate contemplation the helps you formulate a constructive response in order to accomplish a goal, achieve an objective, or come to a decision.

Think of listening as the dance partner of whomever is talking.

How do you actively listen so that you can hear all points while formulating responses of your own?

  1. Focus on the speaker by looking at them (not your device) and be present with them.
  2. Pay attention to their words, tone, emotions, inflections, and emphasis.
  3. Watch body language. Facial expressions, posture, hand gestures, leaning toward or away
  4. Make notes. In groups, it helps a lot to jot points down to return to later. One on one, mental.
  5. Repeat key points aloud so the speaker can validate your clarity on what he said.
  6. Ask questions! Why are folks afraid to do this? It can clear up so many misunderstandings.
  7. Stand in the speaker’s shoes. Look through their eyes to see their perspective. There are always two sides to every point, if not more.

The same goes for written communication. Text, email, social media, news articles. We all have trigger words that send us into emotional reaction. How many times have you read something that irritated or upset you only to reread it, or dig deeper to find that writer didn’t quite mean what you thought.

Haste is a communication killer. Don’t be in such a rush! When you don’t fully listen to the speaker or writer, you shut them down, which makes them feel unworthy or devalued. If you have a boss who repeats instructions, it is because she has been let down by someone who failed to fully listen.

Listening is the dance partner of communication. Make concerted effort to give whomever is talking the courtesy of your attention. Otherwise, they’re just talking to the wall.

#listenup #activelistening #communication #lookawayfromyourdevice