Effective leaders and communicators master the art of listening, and they understand that people want to be heard. In our fast-paced world, active and empathetic listening is a rarity, and it’s not as simple as it sounds. Even if we know how to listen, we often don’t for a number of reasons.
Take a look at a few of the barriers that get in the way of effective listening. See which ones you might be guilty of.
- Multi-tasking – Do you ever look at your phone or check emails during a meeting or conversation? If you think you can multi-task while listening, then you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s also painfully obvious to the other person when you are distracted.
- Me, Me, Me – Your major concern should not be how others perceive you or what you’ll say next. If that’s the case, you can’t focus on what is being said.
- Brain Speed – If your thoughts outpace the speaking style of the person you are talking with, you tend to let your mind wander. Or, you may interrupt the other person because you believe you know what the person is trying to say but taking too long to say it.
- Knowing the Answer – “Knowing the answer” means that you think you already know what the speaker wants to say, before they actually finish saying it. You might interrupt and try to complete the sentence. Showing respect to the speaker is a crucial element of good listening.
- Line Butting – This occurs when you’re bored with the subject so you interrupt and introduce a new topic. Or worse, you start talking about yourself. A good listener tries to keep an open, receptive mind. Furthermore, an effective listener looks for opportunities to stretch the mind when listening and to acquire new ideas or insights.
So, how did you do?