God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason – we should listen twice as much as we speak! 

When my boys were in high school and we rode back and forth to school we did a lot of talking. Looking back I feel the biggest mistake I made at that time, was that I didn’t listen a whole lot, because I was more concerned about what my reply to their questions was going to be – or I was thinking about what to cook when I got back home. 

LISTENING is necessary, but is often overlooked in today’s world where we are overwhelmed with distractions, gadgets and interruptions. 

By listening we also learn what is “not said” in conversation, we often learn about a person’s feelings and others real needs and wants. 

Why is it important to listen? If we listen more, we are not seen as less powerful or less visible, because when we listen more, we are in fact able to stand out as someone who cares about what others think and this often earns their respect. 

Why is it so hard to listen? In society today, where we are all about communicating – via emails, texts, tweets, and messages, the irony is that rarely are we communicating on a deep level because we are not doing a lot of listening. 

Listening skills need to be learned and practiced daily. Listening is the golden key that opens the door to human relationships – at home and at work. We have so much noise (stuff) going on in our heads that we have no space to listen to what others have to say. It’s important to clear our minds by listening to ourselves and our needs and look after them before we jump into an important meeting or conversation. A few minutes of quietness, before a meeting, can do wonders for our concentration and clarity. 

When your are in a conversation, it’s obviously a good idea not to look at your phone or glance around the room, but you also shouldn’t be formulating your  answer to the speakers’ next possible question, because that directs your attention away from the speaker. You need to listen better, so that you can focus on what is being said.

Try to listen for one day. Listen to understand, to learn, to validate, to empathize, to connect by:

#1 Mirroring the speaker’s message using paraphrasing which helps the speaker to see that you understand the message.

#2  Empathize with the speaker. Let them know how you think they are feeling. For example, saying, “You sound happy…” or  “I can tell you are concerned…”

#3 Validate the speaker’s point of view. Even if you don’t agree with the speaker, it lets them know that you understand the situation.

If you apply listening skills at home and at work, and you will quickly see the difference in your relationships with the people around you. 

If you need help honing your listening skills please give Jager a call at (440) 385-6737 for a complimentary session.