How often have you found yourself tapping your feet impatiently, as you waited for the another person who as speaking to either pause or wrap, before jumping in with your own point of view? if you are like me, you may even end up interrupting the other person. Never mind, if we fully heard let alone understood what the other person was saying, before we are countering or questioning, what we think they said. This can be very frustrating for both the speaker and the listener (or interrupter).
Being a good listener, somehow seems a hard trait to come by and with so many of us struggling with it, is it a surprise that few of us are effective listeners? Brian Tracy – sales trainer, inspirational speaker and successful entrepreneur talks of three steps to becoming an effective listener. In the video at the bottom of this post, you can hear him speak on the subject. For those of you who’s rather get the gist of what he says, here it is.
Pause Once the other person has stopped speaking, pause before you speak. This ensures, that you don’t interrupt the other person, in case they are just taking a breath. It shows that you are giving consideration to their words and you’ll actually hear the other person better! So pause first.
Ask Questions to achieve clarity. Open ended questions help the other person expand on their responses and this will help you in turn understand better, what is it that they are saying.
Paraphrase In your words, state what is it you heard them say. Usually a statement such as “What you are saying is _______”, helps demonstrate that you are paying attention and working at understanding what it is they are saying.
Brian also answers the question Why bother with effective listening?
It makes the speaker, be relaxed and happy which in turn will make them want to be around you. Listening builds trust and self-esteem in the speaker. It also helps the listener (you) achieve greater self-worth through the practice of self-discipline. Watch the video below to hear this in Brian’s own words.