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Effective Listening – Your Secret Weapon
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Effective Listening – Your Secret Weapon

So we all know that it’s good to listen, but do you know why effective listening can make the difference between getting your way and not getting what you want? There are two main reasons – two very specific and powerful benefits you can gain if you practice listening effectively.

Whether we really listen to someone, naturally depends on: the situation, the person, our mood, and what we want from the interaction. If it’s a casual conversation and what the other person is saying interests, horrifies or amuses us, we’re more likely to become absorbed and focus fully on what they’re saying. However, when we have an agenda… when we want to get a result from the conversation, when something is at stake, or we want to convince the other person to do, say or think differently, listening feels more like a nuisance than anything else. When we want to change someone’s mind about an issue, or we’re trying to impress them, we spend the time they’re speaking, thinking of what we’re going to say next, feeling impatient and wanting them to stop so we can have our say, or even just "tuning out" altogether. If only we knew….

If only we knew just how powerful effective listening can be. We’d be more likely to get our own way more often if we realised that listening does the opposite of what we expect. It gives us an edge over the other person that they are completely unaware of. Here’s why:

1. Effective listening – focusing fully on what the other person is saying and how they’re saying it – means you will pick up information subconsciously which can be vital to your ability to respond effectively. This information may not even register to your conscious mind, but it will influence the words, tone and body language you use in your own response. Effective listening gives you insight which you can use to change the outcome of a conversation and can mean the difference between getting the result you want …or not.

2. When you are fully focused on what the other person is saying - meaning making eye-contact, ignoring any distractions, and listening with an open mind, in other words, trying to see from their point of view, making the effort to see through their eyes (and allowing your expressions to show this), the effect on the other person is immensely powerful. They will be more likely to open up to you, warm to you and drop any guardedness. They will also be more inclined to listen to what you have to say when it’s your turn to speak since they’ll feel they’ve been able to get their point across and that it was received. The fact that you appear to have understood where they were coming from, in their eyes, gives you more authority to reply with your own views and they will automatically put more value on what you have to say.

As you can see, in successful communication listening is not a passive activity. Far from it, done properly it can be infinitely more effective than trying to convince someone using words. Effective listening is the “reconnaissance” of communication; it gives you the information you need for a successful tactical conversational manoeuvre, while soothing the other party into a diplomatic state. ;-)


Street Talk

Great insights into listening! The way you put it, it is indeed a secret weapon we'd all be wise to choose to use.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Thank you Debby for this information! I need to practice this.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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