Good listening skills start with listening well
When you’re listening to someone speak, especially someone up close, do you really listen? That is, are you paying attention? Do you let the person speak, or do you interrupt repeatedly?
This notion of listening well came to me during a social event I attended recently. Throughout the event, I met and spoke with several people. Some I hadn’t seen in decades; others were new to me. In each case I was interested in learning about them: where they are from, what they’re up to, and such. Often I would find myself eager to break into the conversation to add a thought. I had to stop myself, though, to prevent from interrupting.
The art of listening well starts with actually listening. As the old adage goes, “The good Lord gave you two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion.”
People have a tendency to jump into a conversation and offer their opinions. Other times they’ll cut in an attempt to finish the other person’s thought. While that behavior is annoying enough in general conversation, it can have really adverse effects in business settings.
Here are some suggestions for listening well: