HEARING uses just the ears.
LISTENING uses the head and the heart.
We HEAR a lot of “stuff;” everything from the traffic going by our windows at night to the sound of a baby laughing in the park, to the radio in our car when we drive to work. However, we do not always LISTEN.
Most sounds do not require that we listen; therefore we don’t. However, if you’re dealing with someone that matters to you (whether that’s a co-worker, client, or life-partner), you want to make sure you LISTEN, not just HEAR. It’s important to remember, that unlike hearing, listening is a two-way process.
To listen well, here are a few techniques:
- Notice the feelings, do not get stuck on the words
- Make eye contact (without staring and becoming “creepy”)
- Adopt an open posture
- Confirm what you think was said
- Ignore distractions
- When it’s your turn to talk, slow down and speak calmly
- Speak in small chunks and make sure to pause
- Ask for feedback and acknowledge it when you get it.
Listening well is an undervalued skill. Learn it and watch how many fewer conflicts you get into and how much happier you are.