Relationships are among the most important elements to live a healthy and happy life, including success at work.
And L I S T E N I N G is THE MOST IMPORTANT element to have open, honest, trustworthy, friendly, etc., relationships.
Try selling a product without listening to the needs of the buyers.
Try convincing your partner to go to a theatre without listening to her or him willing to go to see a movie.
Try to do your job without listening to your manager.
Try to calm down your child without listening to the cause of drama.
Try negotiate with your partner without listening what’s important for him.
Try motivating members of your team without listening to what makes them passionate at work.
In majority of cases you will fail. We can not live without listening to the others. But we very often do not listen. We hear without listening.
How often did you face the situation that the person you are talking to isn’t really listening at all? That your interlocutors are present only in their heads with their own ‘dialogue’. That they are thinking about something else, especially on what they’re going to say next. That they do not listen to you. How many times have you done it yourself to others?
Did the conversation lead to progress, to new solutions benefitting all partners? I bet it didn’t. Such parallel exchange of views, feelings and informations, without listening to our partners, does not help in developing any partnership.
Listening is an art. Great people like Ghandi or JPII showed empathy and full focus on their partners. You also can become such an artist! Yes, you can. And should.
There are just few steps you need to take to have a pleasure from closer and better relationship with other people. Just from listening attentively, full of empathy:
Cherish the moment of life you are in. It is great to have an opportunity to be with another person. Be present in this specific moment. Enjoy it. It is fun, pleasure and enrichment to get knowing other ways of thinking and seeing the world.
Open your mind to what that person is communicating. Keep your head clear and be focused on the conversation at hand. Watch and listen to that ‘live movie’ you are in. Let the information flow into your brain, think about it. If you have different opinion – allow the other view to sink in. Analyse it. There is something you can learn from that opinion. Especially if it differs from yours.
Ask questions. The best way to get the others express their views is to ask them questions. It shows that you are interested in the subject, in feelings and views of your partners. It also gives you more information, bigger picture and better understanding of that person.
Do not rush. You do not need to say faster your thoughts and ideas that the partner. Do not worry. There will be time to do that. There will be an opportunity to match what you want to say with what you have just heard. Especially when you are a boss talking to your staff.
Look into eyes. Keep the best possible contact with your partner. Open that bigger channel of trust. Make the relation closer.
Rather do not say if not needed. Sometimes your opinions and information do not “match” the circumstances. They may harm your partner. Think if it is really necessary at this specific moment, before saying anything what may be harmful or disturbing.
Smile. It will make that specific moment better for your partner. And for you. If the subject of your communication is sad – smile inside your brain and heart – ‘I like this moment’.
Be natural, be yourself. Sometimes we loose concentration and focus. “I’m sorry, I lost focus for a second – what did you say? Let me be back with you with my full attention.”
Such attentive listening, listening with empathy, used everyday will bring you amazing results.
You will notice that people like to talk to you, spend time with you, be with you.
Your coworkers will understand you better. Your boss will be pleased that you follow the suggestions. It may help avoiding your marriage crisis. For sure it will help to [re]gain close contact with your teenage kids.
Listen to the world! Hearing is just the start. Get better relationships.
Be a Master of Your Happy Life.