Do you ever feel like you could be a better communicator? Have you ever heard phrases, such as:
- “I’m sure she understood what I meant,”
- “I assumed that…”
- “I’m sure it was obvious to him.”
- “But, I thought…”
- Etc. etc. etc.
A lot of miscommunication is rooted in poor listening skills. Many people want to say much, but listen little. Improving communication skills–by being quick to listen and slow to wrath–will help you to avoid arguments, achieve your goals, and get more of out of life.
Some years ago, I was running with my wife when I asked her how she was doing. She replied evenly, but unconvincingly, “fine.”
Normally, I would have said “great,” and moved on to the next subject. However, I followed up and said, “That didn’t sound like a very convincing ‘fine.'”
She replied that she was experiencing one of the most discouraging times of her life. I considered giving her advice but wisely decided to JUST LISTEN instead. After 20 minutes of talking she said, “thanks for just listening!”
Wow! That was all it took! She resolved the issue herself and it never came up again. What helped was simply having somebody there to listen.
This story reiterated to me the incredible power of listening. As you strive to more genuinely listen in conversations, you will dramatically improve your productivity and your overall effectiveness.