The 7 Secrets to Being a World Class Listener from care2.com
Are you a lousy listener, or world class? If you have any doubts, check yourself against the 7 traits of a world-class listener identified below. Then put your listening skills to the test on the National Day of Listening the Friday after Thanksgiving Day and see what you learn!
The National Day of Listening was launched by the national oral history project StoryCorps in 2008, now widely heard on public radio stations nationwide. It was designed as an alternative to the shopping madness of “Black Friday” as a way to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of their lives.
“We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters,” says StoryCorps on its website.
To make recording the stories easier, StoryCorps set up free recording booths in Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, along with a mobile tour that travels the country. You can reserve a time to record your story here.
But before you do, you need to be prepared to listen to them. And as you probably know, not everyone is a good listener. Some people ask questions they don’t really want the answers to. Others ignore the answers altogether in order to aggrandize themselves.
Whether you record your stories on the National Day of Listening or not, here are the secrets to becoming a better listener no matter what story someone is telling.
1) Listen more than you talk. As the saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Avoid saying “I” or “me” a lot.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-7-secrets-to-being-a-world-class-listener.html#ixzz3siWs3UmW
2) Use the answer to one question as the basis for the next question you ask. Asking connected questions will show that you’re honestly listening to the conversation.
3) Don’t judge the answers or the questions. Your role as a listener is not to pass judgement on what you hear. In fact, the more judgmental you are, the shorter the conversation is likely to be!
4) Don’t compare someone’s experiences to your own. Though you may think that the best way to listen is to compare the person’s experiences to your own, this is far from the truth. If the person is talking about dealing with a death in the family, you can share some expression of understanding, but avoid saying, “That’s exactly like how it was with me…” This can come off as offensive or insensitive, especially when you compare something really serious to your own less-intense experiences.
5) Don’t try to help, at last not right away. My daughter has trained me not to step in with a solution when she tells me about a problem. In fact, she’ll say, “I wasn’t asking you to fix it. I just wanted you to know about it.” If you do feel like you have to give advice, make it neutral and not necessarily about what worked for you.
6) Show empathy. Demonstrate you’re listening and that you care by acknowledging what the other person is saying. Try “echoing” or simply rephrasing what your conversation partner is saying.
7) Don’t interrupt in the middle of a point. Be encouraging, but also be patient. Some questions are hard to ask and even harder to answer.
Even if you’re not listening for the National Day of Listening, Psychology Today says that being a good listener is part of being an effective communicator, and effective communications is “one of the keys to building resilience and maintaining balance in your life.”
“Listening is an active process. It does not mean simply sitting silent and staring at someone. To be effective in understanding another’s perspective and helping them through a difficult time, such as a diagnosis of cancer, you need to do things which show interest and genuine concern,” says Psychology Today.===============================================================
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