Listening is one of the most important skills you can master, for both business and personal life success. Listening takes effort and practice. It doesn’t just happen automatically.
There are many barriers that get in the way of our ability to listen to one another. Here are some of the worst:
Making Assumptions. When we tell others how they feel or what they mean, we shut down the conversation. “You” statements usually causes a defensive reaction. Instead, try to reflect what the other person said. Say saying something like, “It sounds like . . .” or “If I understand what you’re saying . . .” Then, be open to them letting you know if you really understood or not. Some clarification may be necessary.
Mental Chatter. It is possible to look like you’re listening even when you’re not. However, to truly listen, you need to do more than just put on your “listening face.” You must turn off your mental chatter and focus on the other person.
Interrupting. As a person is speaking or thinking, you cut him or her off to present your line of thinking. This behavior clearly conveys a lack of respect for the other person’s point of view.