Are You Listening?


Are you listening?

February is here and there’s a buzz in New England as the Patriots head off to take on the Philadelphia Eagles.

As these teams prepare for the big day, I’m always curious about how they communicate with each other.

When Bill Belichick speaks, are the players preparing their response or rebuttal to him in their heads, watching a video on their phone or are they focused in, nodding as he speaks and listening for complete understanding? My guess Is it’s the latter.

The skill and art of listening when you are in conversation with another person is key to creating success within high functioning teams and families.

Stephen R. Covey says, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply.” This is an area I choose to challenge myself to practice so I can be exceptional and not like most people. Would you like to be like most people or join me in the challenge to strive to be exceptional?

The first step in the challenge is to raise your awareness of how you are listening.  Here a few tips I find helpful when evaluating my skills.

Begin to notice, when someone is talking to you, are you…

  • Only catching the gist of the conversation or hearing what you want to hear?
  • Distracted by other thoughts or busy preparing your reply to the speaker?
  • Drifting away from the conversation and moving onto another focus?
  • Wanting to bring the focus of the conversation back to what is most important to you?
  • Judging them?

When you notice these, take a breath and guide your thoughts back to being present with the person speaking. This will help you begin to notice their body language and allow you to hear the tone in their voice which may help you discover an underlying issue that’s not really being said, often referred to as “reading between the lines”.

Here are 5 tips to help you become present and engage in meaningful conversation:

  1. Pause what you are doing and turn your attention and eyes to the speaker
  2. It may be helpful to bring yourself to the speaker’s level e.g. kneeling to talk to a child, sitting if the speaker sits
  3. Place your phone face down on the table
  4. Turn your computer monitor off and turn your chair towards the speaker
  5. Be curious and clarify with the person to gain understanding of the message they are conveying. Try to view it from their perspective.

I am committed to listening to others as I would like them to listen to me when I’m speaking. As you begin to notice how you listen and test out one of the tips, let me know what you discover. If you would like to talk more about engaging members of your team and/or family in conversation, click here to set up a complimentary discovery session with me today to.