Have you ever noticed that some of your challenges could be avoided if you and the person you?re communicating with truly listened to each other?
The problem is for most professional women, our schedules are already so crammed tight that we listen to respond, to know our call to action and to just get on to the next thing. Unfortunately, it causes us to hear what we assume, hear what we want to hear; to hear through our emotions or hear based on our past experiences.
In a personal relationship, this causes tension and often times hurt feelings, especially if the other person doesn?t speak up and leaves the misunderstanding firmly intact. Professionally, it can cause a serious miscommunication that could ultimately affect deliverables or negatively influence the bottom line.
I am a music lover and have always been amazed at how some people sing so beautifully while others, like myself, are unable to carry a tune.?Recently, ?I had the opportunity to meet a world-renowned vocal coach, who has worked with some musical greats. I asked him what was that one special quality in some of the people he has trained to sing so beautifully.
His answer surprised me, he indicated that singing well is actually because of how well you can hear. The greater your ability to hear all of the various musical pitches and nuances, the more successful you are at producing a great sound. When you sing-off key it is really because you hear off-key.
While I am keenly aware that most of us do not strive to become professional singers, there are massive benefits to actually hearing well. Yet, in a rapidly changing world that is full of distractions, deadlines and drama–how do we become better at hearing; not just listening?
3 Hearing Aids For Effective Communications:
1. ?Listen to hear; not how you are going to respond. When you are anxious to share your point of view, to be heard or to just be done with the conversation, you will listen to craft a response. Allow your response to take a back seat so you can give your full attention to what is actually being said. The time saved from having to banter back and forth because the other party wants to be heard is well worth the few moments of delay that may be caused by slowing down enough to fully hear what was said, digest it and then respond.
2. ?Listen to gain understanding, not to find the offense. In the midst of an uncomfortable situation, be it professionally perhaps where feedback is being given or personally when someone has a grievance, understanding is key. Because whenever you look to be offended, you will be. Most offenses are due to a lack of understanding, not what actually happened. Listen with an open mind, not a pre-planned agenda that seeks to be offended instead of listening with the intention of understanding.
3. Ask for clarity instead of making an assumption. There is nothing wrong with taking a moment to have clarity about what is being said. Don?t listen between the lines and substitute your opinion for what is actually being said. The greatest misunderstandings happen when someone assumes something that the facts don?t support. This puts the speaker in a defensive position and takes the communication into a negative place. Be willing to take a moment and get clarity to eliminate any assumptions.
Effective dialog is a key component to successful relationships and hearing well is the cornerstone of great communication. When you hear better you minimize the risk of miscommunication and reduce the potential for drama caused by assumptions, perceived offenses and knee-jerk responses.
Have you identified with the need to fine tune your hearing? Or do you struggle to be heard properly and find yourself frustrated? ? Please share your experiences, thoughts and comments. ?Let?s grow together?..