How’s Your Listening Skills?

Do you listen well?

“Seek to first understand before being understood”

~J Richard Clarke

You’ve probably heard the above quote before, so…how do I gain understanding? 

Understanding can take time and one of the major keys is learning how to listen.  Don’t worry, if this is not your strong suit, it is a skill that you can develop. 

RESOURCE: Most of the points in this post come from one of the best communication books that I have ever read: Messages, The Communication Skills Book

Six Quick Listening Roadblocks?

  1. Rehearsing: You are rehearsing what to say next
  2. Filtering: You are only listening to statements with strong emotions and tune everything else out
  3. Judging: You have already judged the person or the circumstance before any conversation or explanation. 
  4. Dreaming: You are half listening, and something the person says suddenly triggers a chan of private associations.
  5. Identifying: When someone shares a story you always relate it back to you.
  6. Advising: You are quick to give advise and solutions, even when the person was not asking for advise. 

I remember a conversation that I had with someone where I walked in feeling great about some decisions that I made and walked away feeling like I was doing something wrong…hmm?  After analyzing this conversation, I realized they never actually heard me.  This individual had pre-conceived ideas in their mind and certain things that I said triggered a series of warnings, judgements, and unsolicited advice.  Their responses were coming from their own experiences and not from what I was expressing…they were not listening to me. If they would have truly listened, I am confident they would have been excited and much more supportive.  (maybe we can talk about how to handle these situations in the future)

I am 100% sure that I have been in the seat of  “not listening”. As a matter of fact I have kids that have called me out on it. However, becoming aware of my roadblocks helps me to intentionally enter into a conversation with my “active listening” ears on.  Actively listening to someone can be such a gift, let’s continue to hone our listening skills.

Three Things I Can Do Immediately

ONE: Become aware of your listening roadblocks

TWO: Practice listening this week, with the intent of gaining understanding

THREE: Download this Communication Skills worksheet and be intentional in your conversations: Click Here

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Proverbs 12:15

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Photo by zhenhao Liu on Unsplash

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