Remember being in elementary school and the teacher reminding everyone in a sing-songy style voice to “practice your listening skills”.
Loading Your Guns
Are you really listening to what the other person is saying or are you simply, “loading your guns” behind your back?
Like the old cowboy pictures, as soon as the other person stops talking you’re ready to whip out your pistols and start firing away.
You only catch half of what they said, because after a certain point, you started forming your counter point or next statement in your mind…ie loading your guns.
This would be bad listening.
Let a Point Marinate
So instead of loading and getting ready to blast away, you let what the other person just said sink in a bit.
Sometimes, silence in a conversation is gold.
It shows the other person you’re pondering and thinking on what they just said.
The art of conversation doesn’t mean you have to be so quick to spout off.
Continue The Open Subject
To take it a step farther, you can actually repeat back a bit of what they just said. Continue on their thought.
Part of being a good listener is to let your agenda take a back seat. Continue with the other person’s topic.
Don’t be so quick to reach for the microphone.
Give the other person their moment.
There is a “humility” aspect to being a good listener.
A good listener doesn’t try to top what was just said.
If someone tells you good news or bad news, don’t try to top it with a piece of better or worse news.
Listening Skills Involve Being Teachable
A good listener, even if they know what you’re talking about still takes a moment to hear your thoughts.
Don’t be impatient if you’re hearing something you think you already know.
You may learn something new or learn what others think of the situation.
Remember the goal is to listen; not to show the other person what you already know.
- Listen to others to learn what “the word on the street is”. This is how you become a student of your own game. Even if opinions are wrong or misguided, you’re learning what the public thinks.
- You get a refresher on what you think you already knew. Perhaps there was an aspect you were leaving off. Nobody knows everything, right?
- Providence brings the most obscure people across our path to tell us something. You’d be surprised that by listening to people in your daily path, walk, commute, whatever…how much you can learn.
- By listening, we help others, avoid errors, learn more, make contacts, comfort the afflicted, show we care, the list goes on and on.
Avoid Captain Obvious
Having said that, everyone should avoid being Captain Obvious. If you are speaking to someone, have some insight in to what the person you’re speaking to may or may not know.
If you’re going to say something that is obvious or basic, add on a sentence that show’s you realize this:
“You probably already know this, but…”
“I’m sure this is obvious, but it bears repeating…”
“Not to be obvious but….”
“What I’m about to say we both know, but just to reassure we’re on the same page…”
Probably a basic blog and something you probably already knew….but it bears repeating.