In January I shared with you “Three Ways to Say Yes to Success in Relationships.” You’re thinking, “Ya. Okay. Now, how do I actually figure out what’s most important to me?” Or, “I’m not very good at listening.”
Well, read on. I am sharing some great tools for developing and practicing the skills and actions I recommended!
To get clarity on what’s most important to you (what motivates you), make time to do this exercise on Values Clarification.
Listening: A Powerful Business Tool
We all think we’re great listeners. “After all, I hear and respond to stuff all day long.” Right? Phone calls, meetings, kids, co-workers, the boss… True. Now test yourself to check if you’re truly listening. Ask yourself if you are listening to hear what is being said (and all the experience, thought, and emotion behind it) or if you are listening for your next opportunity to say what you’re thinking. Most of us, if we’re honest, will admit that we are just waiting for that next opening or pause in the monologue into which we can insert our wisdom or opinion, etc.
Wait 20 Seconds
Another exercise to try is waiting. For a whole hour, every time someone speaks to you wait 20 full seconds (this will seem like an eternity to most) before responding. This exercise gives the other person an opportunity to feel as though he has the ‘floor’ and is, therefore, the focus at that moment, and it gives you a chance to really allow what’s been said to sink in. You’ve interrupted your ‘auto response’ mode and allowed what has been said to truly be heard, hang there in the air, and be processed in your brain so that you can actually respond to the person and not to your own need to be heard or recognized. Make sense?
To take listening to a deeper level, practice repeating back to the other person what you heard them say. This small step provides an opportunity for you to stop your automated responses (your need to talk and be heard) and for both of you to get clear on what is being communicated.
These exercises can be challenging but fun, and they take only brief moments to practice. Simple strategies like this become tremendous tools for lifelong success.
(When all else fails, remember this: you were given two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionately!)