One of the most common complaints in the workplace (and even at home) is a failure to communicate effectively.
Oftentimes, people are quite vocal about what they do or not approve of, but are the people who can help, listening?
The next time you are in a crowded food court or on a bus, take note of people carrying conversations with one another. Are they actually listening to one another or are they simply waiting for their turn to speak?
If you find the opportunity to raise an issue with someone in the future, pay attention to the way in which you speak. Are you listening to what the other person has to say?
Try speaking less and listening more. It has its benefits.
1) You will think before you speak
Given time before you speak, you will put a little more thought into what you want to communicate to the other person. Take in what he or she is saying, and use their suggestions to support or dissuade your argument. Also, you will not end up saying something you did not intend to divulge.
2) You can process what the other person is talking about
When someone is speaking to you, it’s easy to zone out and just focus on snippets of what they’re saying. Listen carefully to what they are saying, how they are saying it. There may be an underlying issue of which you weren’t even aware, the person may be upset. Make sure you hear them out completely.
3) You will only say what’s important
If you decide to listen more, and speak less than you normally would, it would make sense to only say what needs to be said. Why waste your time talking about things that don’t matter, or don’t deserve the energy?
If you want your opinions to make an impact, you should keep your points succinct. Try to make yourself as clear as possible so that there is no room for confusion. It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; Avoid trifling Conversation.”
4) You will have all of the facts before decision-time
If you spend most of your conversations listening, and you absorb the information given to you, you’ll likely have a well-rounded opinion on the outcome of any decisions that are made.
For example, if you are in a meeting with several people who have concerns about a particular issue, let each person have their say before a decision is made. If you collect all of the facts, you will be able to make a well-informed decision on the outcome.
5) You will value other peoples’ opinions
There’s nothing more frustrating than pouring your heart out to someone and being met with a brick wall. It is so important to feel needed in the workplace (or home!)
If your opinions are valued and taken into consideration, you will feel much better not only about the situation, but about yourself as well. Turning that around, you should make others feel the same way, that their opinions matter and that they too, are a valued member of the team.
Conversations should be give and take. You shouldn’t have to interrupt someone to get your word in. But you shouldn’t dismiss what they have to say either.
If you can truly listen to what is being said, process the information, and use it effectively, your communication skills will only get better as time goes on.
Dustin spends his time finding ways to inspire the uninspired. He created optimisticquotes.org where he posts his favorite motivational and inspirational stories, quotes, and life lessons. Looking for a reason to be happy? He’s got 101 reasons right here.