So I start this blog with one simple question, “Are relationships important in your life?”
If you answered yes, I promise that if you use the concepts and ideas in this short blog you will reach your outcome.
Studies show that 90% of our success professionally and our happiness personally is the result of meaningful relationships. Here is a simple premise:
- Communication – effective communication – is the basis of all productive relationships.
Unfortunately, communication breaks down all the time. The question is, why? Because effective communication only exists when the receiver hears and understands the speaker’s message as its intended. Johan Goethe said, a person hears only what they understand and no two people hear a message the same way. There is a real disconnect between hearing the words and listening to the message. It’s like cutting the electric chord of a lamp then plugging the lamp in and expecting there to be light. We don’t set out to break the connection; in fact, we’re baffled when the conversation leaves us in the dark.
- Listening is the key to effective communication
So, the ability to listen is the primary prerequisite to effective communication. So why is listening the key to the communication process? The most powerful and basic way to connect with another person is to listen, just listen. Possibly the most important gift we give to the people we love is our time and attention. I have a dear friend who when he is around others by means of listening he makes everyone around him feel more important and more intelligent, while most people in a social or business setting are compelled to tell everyone how important or intelligent they are. You see knowledge speaks; however, wisdom listens. By listening and giving unselfishly our time and attention to others we improve every relationship in our lives.
Listening doesn’t mean being quiet until you can grab back control of the conversation. It doesn’t mean rehearsing a response to the speaker’s message. And, it doesn’t mean to listen to the flaws in the other person’s argument, preparing for the rebuttal to that argument. What it does mean is to be completely committed to hearing the speaker’s entire message before formulating a response.
- Listening to be completely committed to hearing the speaker’s entire message before formulating a response.
The benefits of putting yourself unselfishly into another person’s point of view are far too many to document in this short blog; however, when you do listen effectively you understand what the person is thinking, and you understand what the person is feeling. The result is that two people are in sync. There is clear understanding and there is cooperation and collaboration that builds a level of confidence in the relationship that produces a positive productive outcome.
Stephen Covey, famous for The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, said, “Seek first to understand then to be understood.” A great mantra to build great relationships.
In future blogs we will discuss the four elements of effective listening and great shortcuts to improve listening immediately.