Are You Listening? – Peggy W Barnes

Are You Listening?

In my business, I have to spend a lot of time listening…….and not talking. Whew, for this magpie that is a difficult thing to do and sometimes I just don’t do it as well as I should. However, listening is one of the most important things you can do, day in and day out.  What is the old saying…..that is why God gave you 2 ears and one mouth.  Research says we remember only about 25% of what we hear…..that is not a lot of remembering, therefore that is not a lot of listening.  

Active listening, implies doing just that….actively listening as opposed to passively listening. Active listening is something we all need to get better at doing because we can glean so much more information when we are really listening.  So here are a few tips for you and some great reminders for me!

1.  Focus on paying attention.  I know that sounds silly but you have to be intentional about listening.  

2.  Mirror back to someone what is being said so they can know they are being heard and being heard correctly.

3.  Maintain eye contact, nod, use vocal cues like “nice”, “yes”, “I see”, lean forward a little bit and watch your body language.  

4.  Don’t spend your “listening” time figuring out what your response is going to be (although at my age I am afraid I am going to forget what my response is going to be!)

5.  Don’t interrupt (yikes – I think I might have that problem but working on it!)

6.  Don’t start daydreaming, thinking about your own personal problems, your grocery list, etc.  

7.  Lastly, try to listen “non-judgmentally”.  It is difficult to listen without putting your own history and frame of reference on what the other person is saying but this is an important component to listening. 

So, with all that being said, what did I just say??  Were you really listening?  
It is a fun experiment to see how actively you can listen and how actively people are listening to you.  You may find you are just talking to hear your own self talk!  
Now go use those ears and close that mouth!

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