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3 Tips On
How To Be A Good Listener
By Ronda Phillips I Dare to Outdo Yourself!
CHALLENGE Yourself to:
BE A GOOD LISTENER
When it comes to being a good listener, have you ever participated in a fun group exercise whereby one person would whisper a story to the person next to them, who in turn, had to listen very carefully to what was being said, then that person would whisper and repeat the story to the next person, and so forth? If so, perhaps you can recall that by the time the story got to the last person, they would eventually share the repeated story out loud in front of the entire group. However, the repeated story most likely became distorted, whereby it ended up being so different from the story that was originally told.
For example, suppose [person A] whispered this original story to [person B], "The fire department came to rescue my neighbor's cat who got stuck in a tree."
However, the repeated story told by [person G] might have ended like this, "My neighbor's cat caught her entire house on fire and the fire department came to rescue everybody out in time before it burned to the ground."
So, by the time the story got to the last person, parts of it were either removed or more was added to it, and the story became exaggerated.
Speaking of which, do you oftentimes find it difficult to listen to others during conversations because of surrounding distractions that may happen simultaneously or at the same time, which may include you deeply concentrating on your own thoughts about what you want to do or say next, that by the end of a conversation you either misunderstood or ignored what was spoken -- only to find yourself in total embarrassment when you're asked to repeat or comment on what was just said?
Because of the busyness of life, many of us have become extreme multitaskers, trying to listen to various people in differing ways at the same time such as, having a conversation with someone in-person -- while accepting a phone call from someone else during the in-person conversation -- while also sending a text or an email reply to another person during the in-person conversation after accepting the phone call from someone else, as our attentive listening skills get muffled in the shuffle of trying to listen.
Likewise, there are times when some of us may become so self-consumed with speaking incessantly about our own issues to others, that perhaps we may become unaware of when it's an appropriate time to stop talking and take a breather in order to listen to someone else share what's on their mind so they can at least get a word in edgewise.
With that being said, would you say that you are good at being a listener?
A listener is defined as, one who listens to someone or something; one who listens attentively and sympathetically.
Unfortunately, many of us may choose to deliberately tune out certain people rather than listen to what they have to say because we may be upset with them, or in the midst of a heated discussion with them in the moment. We may simply not care to engage in the conversation any longer if it seems not to be going anywhere [not going our way, in other words] and at which point, we probably couldn't care less about what the other person is saying.
Perhaps you may choose not to listen to someone if what they are saying is of no interest -- if it is considered not to be important to you.
So, why listen anyway?
Like speaking, listening is an important aspect of communication. If you feel you have been coming up a little short on the listening end lately, then listen up -- because you are at the right place to soak it all in -- right now. Incorporating the following tips into your daily lifestyle can help you become more attentive toward others, and master the art of being a good listener.
Here are 3 tips you can implement with others to help you be a good listener:
1. REMEMBER THE TIMES WHEN YOU REALLY NEEDED SOMEONE TO LISTEN TO YOU
Can you recall past or recent experiences when you felt you had something important to say while communicating with others either in-person or on the phone, only to be rudely distracted by constant interruptions from others, and you were unable to complete a full sentence, or get your entire point across?
For example, perhaps you were so excited about being nominated for a prestigious award, landing a big contract or you just got engaged to be married, and you couldn't wait to share the good news -- only to have your story ignored because the other person got easily distracted by something or someone else -- so much so, that you were no longer excited about sharing your joy.
If this sounds familiar, more than likely you would not want anyone else to go through a similar unpleasant experience with you. You’ll be inclined to be more discerning and attentive to have a good listening ear the next time someone chooses to reach out to you and needs you to listen to them as they share their important news with you.
2. PRIORITIZE YOUR TIME SO YOU ARE IN A POSITION TO BE PRESENT TO LISTEN
If you maintain a busy lifestyle, more than likely you are an important person to many important people that need and want your attention just about all the time. Assess the important people that are in your day-to-day core inner circle (i.e., family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, clients, customers, etc.) Based upon your relationship or association with each, schedule designated time frames that will work for you to meet or spend quality time with them accordingly, in an effort to communicate and listen to one another effectively.
For example, schedule a block of time to meet with staff first thing in the morning each day or on specific days of the week. Likewise, schedule appointments with clients in incremental time frames during the day, in order to give yourself time to regroup and prepare for your next client without overlapping appointments. As well, establish a routine to spend quality time with your significant other or children during hours that will work well for all to look forward to being a part of, and stick to it.
Set basic guidelines for others to respect your scheduled meeting times whenever you are in the company of others so you will not risk any unnecessary disturbances or distractions. Close the door. Turn off the TV. Put away or turn off all mobile devices if necessary. However, be prepared to improvise during crisis moments if someone else reaches out for you to listen to them immediately while you’re already in the company of others and/or listening to someone else.
3. LISTEN TO OTHERS INTENTLY BY GIVING THEM YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION
When someone is talking to you, let the person see that you value their presence and what they are saying. Look the person in the eyes. Follow their facial expressions, changes in voice tone, gestures, and posture. Take notes about what the person is saying if you are in a position to do so or if you feel it’s necessary. Give the person time to pause after completing a sentence to determine if they have finished talking, or carefully ask if it's okay for you to weigh in.
Express your concern or understanding about what the person has said by reiterating key words or phrases they shared. If the person asks for your advice or opinion after you’ve listened to them, do so if you believe you can offer an appropriate solution that will benefit them or their circumstance.
For example, your significant other may share their concern about how to handle a family crisis or express their feelings of grief or emotional pain surrounding new developments that may have affected your relationship with one another. When giving your response, be wise, respectful, and compassionate -- for they will appreciate you taking the time to listen to them, and will be inclined to listen to what you have to say to them with serious intent in return.
Being a good listener is sort of humbling in a sense. To be a good listener means taking the focus off of yourself and giving someone else your undivided attention in that moment. Distractions may occur sometimes. However, there's an art to showing others that what they have to say is important to you. The more you choose to listen actively and attentively, the better you will get at it.
Be reminded to implement these 3 tips with others to help you be a good listener:
1. Remember the times when you really needed someone to listen to you
2. Prioritize your time so you are in a position to be fully present to listen
3. Listen to others intently by giving them your undivided attention
You will be well on your way to becoming a good listener. So, are you listening?
The eBook, PE Class Workout Guide authored by Ronda Phillips is a personal development and self improvement resource that can also help position you to be productive during the day. The ebook also includes Purpose and Empowerment Right Now Declarations, which provides hundreds of declarations to help remind you of who you are and that the best is still to come in your life. This recommended resource also includes a Manifestation Evaluation, Manifestation Equation, and Daily Manifestation Worksheet. This ebook is also an ideal keepsake gift for someone you care about. You can go here to discover more about the eBook,PE Class Workout Guide.
To Your Empowerment!
To Your Empowerment!
Known for her creative style, positive influence and straightforward professionalism, Ronda Phillips is a certified life coach,author, speaker, television host, style expert and entrepreneur. Her core mission is to empower and challenge individuals to become propelled to take charge of their life through preparation, performance and persistence. Ronda is the founder of Dare to Outdo Yourself!
Prepare. Perform. Persist.
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