We’re all guilty of selfish listening. We all know that person that spins every conversation back to themselves. Don’t be that person. Apply the below tips to your next conversation, and make the person you’re speaking to feel great. The tips come from Chris Lee and Lewis Howes via the School of Greatness Podcast. Click here if you’d like to listen to the full podcast.
10 Tips For Becoming A Better Listener
- Be Open – Be willing to give up your ego. I guarantee you don’t know it all, so be willing to let others speak and, more importantly, be receptive to what they’re saying. Show people you aren’t judging them, their thought processes or their actions. Create a comfortable environment.
- Create The Space To Listen – Utilize your body language to make people feel like you’re engaged in what they’re saying. Face them, open your arms and legs (use discretion here), nod and smile. Remember the 70/30 principle. 70% of communication is nonverbal, 30% is what is actually said. Make sure there are no distractions. Set the stage for a successful conversation.
- Make the Person Feel Like the They’re the Most Important Person in the World – Give the person your full and undivided attention. Show you understand their thought processes and actions, and if you don’t, ask for clarification once they’re finished. We all want to feel validated and like we matter.
- Listen to the Words People Are and Aren’t Saying – Don’t interrupt people or complete their sentences. Selfish listening is listening to the part of the story you like and then commenting/relating to that part. Suppress your inner voice and focus outward. If you want to be a good listener, hear out everything they have to say and let them finish. Also take note of what they may be leaving out. This could be crucial in understanding the situation. The person may feel vulnerable and not willing to show that side of them; recognize this.
- Connect to the Emotion – This is difficult, but try to find the underlying feelings behind the tone and volume of their voice along with the energy and mood of their being. Sometimes these are easily identifiable, i.e if someone is being short with you. The more useful way to use this tip is to listen for how people feel about each piece of the conversation.
- Know What Questions to Ask – Ask clarifying questions. Ask them if there is anything else or any thing they’re not facing.
- Repeat Back What You Heard – Summarize/ repeat back what they said. Paraphrase the situation and the emotion you picked up; it allows people to confirm their feelings and “get it off their chest” when they hear someone else summarize the situation or cause of their feeling.
- Honor the Request Made from You – Give advice, take an action or just nod and listen more. Determine what the person needs and try to cater your response to them.
- Identify the Kind of Person Who is Talking to You – Use the personality matrix (Analyzer, Promoter, Controller, Supporter) to find the speaker’s personality type. This allows you to identify their intentions and needs so you can tune your communication with them to be most effective. Listen to where they are and their context. Present your response in the way that’s most conducive to their personality type.
- Listen to Yourself – Listen to yourself, your heart and your vision. If you don’t it’s inauthentic and you won’t be happy.
People Don’t Care What You Say Until They Know You Care About Them