How do you get good at communication? By listening more!
I assumed I’m a good listener, till I learned the difference between listening to understand, and listening to respond. When we listen to respond, we are always on the edge of our chairs, waiting to pitch in our opinions, thoughts and experiences. Sometimes, we cut the speaker towards the end of their sentence, even without realizing it, for we can’t wait to share our response. However, that doesn’t account to good listening, which often times is the foundation of the relationships we form. When you let the speaker express themselves to their heart’s content, understand what they meant to convey, and only then respond, you lay the foundation for good communication that does justice to both.
Imagine the difference we could make in the world, the hearts we could touch, the lives we could save, the dreams we could witness, the joys we could share, if we’d all listen more.
Here’s a three second hack I learned from Marie Forleo on how to be a good listener, that I’m now trying to consciously practice. When someone speaks, and you think they are done speaking, wait for three seconds before you respond. More often than not, they will have something more to add, and by giving them that space, you’re not only giving them the space and time to express openly, you’re also restraining yourself from jumping with an opinion, and are actually listening. Just count 1..2..3.. in your head, and if they haven’t added anything in this time gap, you’re free to speak.
This little pause is all you need, to ensure that the speaker feels heard, and understood. It’s as simple as that! Happy listening!