Are you a good listener?

Whether you’re at a meeting at work, joining a group of friends for a night out or mixing with a new group of Mums at a playgroup, it’s important to be able to communicate confidently and effectively.  It’s how we come to understand others and how we allow others to understand and know us.  But really effective communication is as much about listening as it is about talking.

As a life coach for busy mamas much of my day is spent listening to other people. Listening well is a skill and like all skills we need to practise it so that we don’t fall into the habit of thinking about what we want to say next, slipping into daydreaming or jumping to conclusions.

Here’s 7 don’ts to make you a better listener….

#1 Don’t Speak
When you are trying to become a better listener, let them completely say what they have to say and try not to interrupt them. Interrupting can make others forget their train of thought, you might not capture the meaning of what they are saying or miss the really juicy info that’s still waiting to be said. (It’s also quite rude.)

#2 Don’t Wander
Try to resist letting your mind wander when others are speaking. Give the person your undivided attention. They’ll appreciate it, will be more likely to return the respect and you won’t have to ask them to repeat what they said.

#3 Don’t Think
Try not to think about what you are going to say next while the other person is speaking. Try paraphrasing what they’ve said as a way to make you focus on them instead of yourself.

#4 Don’t React
It’s easy to have a knee-jerk reaction when someone says something unexpected. Try to let it all sink in before reacting in any way. Make sure you understand what the person is really saying and ask questions if you don’t. Then, respond from a place of understanding rather than assumption.

#5 Don’t Be Closed-Minded
Not everyone you meet in life will have the same beliefs as you. There will be reasons they feel the way they do. When listening, try to keep an open mind. You don’t have to agree with everything someone else is saying but you can be curious why they feel that way and respect the fact that they have a different opinion. If everyone thought in the same way, life would get pretty dull!

#6 Don’t Miss an Opportunity to Learn
Whenever you speak to someone it’s an opportunity to learn something from them, about them or about yourself. Honour other people by really listening to them with an open mind and a willingness to learn. You never know what you might discover!

#7 Don’t Miss Out on Building a Relationship
Listening builds relationships. When people find out you are a strong listener, they will approach you more often – everyone LOVES to be listened to! They’re also more likely to let others know you listen well, giving you more ability to connect and learn from them and grow yourself.

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