The way we communicate with others can either make or break the relationship or encounter we are having with them.  I’m sure you have had a conversation at some point where you realized that you were the only one having the conversation.

Our values, beliefs and thoughts make us who we are.  They are the lenses through which we view the world.  They influence how we communicate to others and how we perceive what others are communicating to us.  They construct our reality and are a direct cause of what we say and do.

People often will think when you talk about communication that you are referring to how you talk to others, but the most important communication skill is how you listen to others.  If you are not listening and processing what someone is saying to you, then there is little chance that your response will be on the same track as what they were speaking.

Many times, we tune others out, unintentionally, they are talking to us because our minds are thinking other things.   Ask yourself the following questions to see if your listening skills need a tune-up.

  • Do I formulate my own reply while the other person is speaking?
  • Does my mind wander to other things I need to be doing?
  • Do I “tune out” a point of view that differs from my own preconceived ideas?
  • Do I interrupt speakers before they are done?
  • Do I finish speakers’ sentences for them?
  • Do I talk while other people are speaking?
  • Do I only hear what I want to hear?

People need to feel heard before they can hear.  In good communication, we need to gather the most information that the person is saying before we respond.  Have you ever spoken to someone and you know without a doubt that they really are not listening to you and have already drawn a conclusion to what you are saying before you even finish?  How did this make you feel?  Listening is a skill that we develop and it takes time and lots of practice to get good at it.

Here is an interesting fact; The Chinese character for listen, which is pronounced Ting, is made up of four characters: the heart, the mind (full attention), the ears, and the eyes.  Pretty amazing…

Have a great Thursday and practice those listening skills!

Tina

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