Here is something which you cannot change overnight! It takes practise, time and time again, and then it takes more practise in many different situations.
The key characteristics of bad listeners are :
1. Interrupting - so not letting you finish your point, what you were saying or giving you time. The result - the bad listener never gets the full picture or understands the point in the first place. Similarly, the speaker frequently thinks 'whats the point of bothering? - This is probably the hardest one to overcome if it is a habit you have.
2. Closed Mind - not giving the speaker's views any time or consideration. Again, the point is missed, the speaker feels devalued, the conversation has no purpose other than to create more angst. This is slightly easier to overcome, IF you are in the right mindset. If the emotions are running high, rational thought is at a premium, so here is one to practise when you are not under duress.
3. Too Busy - also know as just being rude! Not looking up from the screen, trying to multi-task and so on. What happens here, is that the important information is lost - some where in the ether, the words and messages are floating around - conveyed from the speaker, but lost to the 'listener'. The result, mis-communication. This is probably the easiest characteristic to tackle - simply stop what you are doing and give the person who is talking to you your attention.
4. Match Back - I also call this Eleveneriffe. You start explaining or telling a story, and guess what, the listener responds with something about them, not you. You had a burger, they had a steak, you went to Teneriffe, yep, you guessed it, they went to Eleveneriffe. All this achieves is to make the listener feel good about themselves, and the speaker feel that their story is undervalued. I would say this is the second easiest to deal with - Stop going to Eleveneriffe on holiday (now spot yourself next time you do it)
5. Blinkers to Cues - the brain is wonderful, it picks up on so much conversation that we never hear. Without paying attention, we can easily miss these subtle cues - or more likely ignore them. It may be tone, it may be their body language, it may be just something we cannot understand, but sense. Which ever it is, it is important to them, and to their message. Pay attention, be aware and you will start to pick up the cues.
As with every thought, idea and list, the art is in building up the good habits, step by step. Rather than suddenly aspire to change your whole way of listening, then not quite manage it and fall back into the bad characteristics, try these actions in this order - gradually building on each.
1. Stop Being Too Busy - listen
2. Stop Going To Eleveneriffe - it's their story, not yours
3. Open Your Mind - just try not to judge
4. Give Your Attention - try to spot the subtle cues
.5 Stop Interrupting - this is tough, but be aware of it
Every situation is different, and some will be easier than others. Over time though, the people around you will notice a distinct difference in their conversations with you (which in reality is just you listening better).
In our training with the Kinder Institute, and as a core fundamental in our work with clients, the practise of listening is paramount. Only when we know what is really important to those we work with, can we begin to start modelling their financial life plan, to deliver those aspects which truly make a difference.
Listening and speaking is a two-way street at all times. We need to listen and understand what the other person is really saying. Focus on talking with, rather than to or at, another person. It’s give and take, and resembles learning to dance with another.