Improving listening skills can not be underestimated. Every one of us truly believes, that we listen to other people. I’m here to argue this point.
In most cases we don’t listen – we hear. Our ears hear what someone is saying but are we really listening from a business communication perspective?
We may miss tone, inflection, the specific words they use, their values, beliefs, the nuances and what’s under the words. We might also attach judgments to what they are saying or how they are saying it, and don’t listen. Perhaps at times we are even thinking about the upcoming meeting, the report we have to finish, the fight we had this morning with our kids, or any number of other things.
If any of these facts exist we can’t be listening effectively, even if we hear the words. True listening is all about focusing on the conversation, not getting distracted by our own internal dialogue, being present with the other person, paying attention to their unspoken communication and seeing things from their perspective.
There’s no doubt about it: enhancing your listening skills is the first step toward improving interpersonal communication in the workplace.