Last week I shared already the first batch of tips about changing (or being aware of) your intention when you listen to people.
Listening is the most important networking skill. By only perfecting this skill you will be way more successful than you have been till now (unless you are a master already of course :-), but watch out: we all think we are better listeners than we actually are, so be honest with yourself and look for ways to improve your listening skills)
These are some more tips about your intention when listening to others:
• Understand that there are different ways and styles of communication. You have your own style and have a preference. Don’t judge people right away, give them a chance. And evaluate later. Looking for commonalities helps to get over the differences in communication styles.
• Be sincerely interested in people and in what they say. People feel when you’re not interested, at least at a subconscious level. Don’t fake it.
• Let go of the idea that you need to be right. Once you and the person you are listening to both understand this, listening becomes less difficult. This frees everyone to listen rather than keep trying to convince the other of their “rightness”. This tip establishes a common understanding that listening does not require people to definitively alter their opinions, beliefs, and values.
• Watch your own emotions. If what the other person is saying triggers an emotional response in you, be extra eager to listen carefully, with attention to the intent and full meaning of his words. When we are angry, frightened or upset, we often miss critical parts of what is being said to us.
• Beware of disagreeing, criticizing or arguing. Even if you disagree, let other people have their point of view. If you respond in a way that makes the other person defensive, even if you “win” the argument, you may lose something far more valuable: the relationship!
• Be sensitive to your emotional deaf spots. Deaf spots are words that make your mind wander. They set off a chain reaction that produces a mental barrier in your mind, which in turn inhibits the continued flow of the speaker’s message. Everyone is affected by certain words so it is important to discover your own individual roadblocks and analyse why these words have such a profound effect on you.
• Mind reacting to the message, not to the person. Don’t let your liking or disliking of the physical appearance of the other person cloud the content of his story.
• Keep an open mind. The other person might be saying something that you strongly disagree with, but if you allow him to finish his story without you interrupting him, you might find that his point of view is not that different from yours or you may even have learned something new.
To your success !