Few things are as frustrating as knowing that while you are talking, the other person is planning what they are going to say. We want to be heard…listened to…when we speak. For so many of us, we are listening with the shallowest part of our attention and planning our response with the rest.
A wise man (my dad) once told me that the key to relationships is listening all the way to the end of the sentence. This has been a game changer for me as a leader and has taught me to also ask for others to be polite and listen when I’m speaking…a challenge for many women in leadership.
Some keys to listening include:
- Being fully present in the moment with undivided attention
- Active engagement including not just hearing the words, but paying attention to body language and tone
- Empathy and understanding…a willingness to listen beyond the surface level and seek to truly show up
- Asking thoughtful questions to demonstrate genuine interest
- Non-Judgmental attitude where we suspend our assumptions, opinions, and biases to really hear the other person and let them share their authentic self
With practice and patience, we can make a huge difference in our environment with listening!