I am baffled by the poor listening skills of people and I wonder why.
This finding is beyond me, and for this reason, I look at this condition to determine possible solutions that will not only be heard, but also understood.
To find out, I went back to the drawing board. I consulted one of my greatest allies: Mr. Dictionary. The definition that holds my attention is as follows: ¨pay attention to what someone says to hear and understand.¨
As for the other definitions, they refer either to: pay attention or tune in and listen to.
First impression: To understand, it is essential to not only focus on what you hear, but also to keep an open mind (not interfere with assumption) to what the other person is attempting to convey.
Was Socrates right all along when he said: «All I know is that I know nothing. ¨ If so, we would be forced to admit that it is better not to assume we understand before we actually validated our comprehension. Only then will we be able to form an impression.
For this scenario to prevail there is a 3 step process to follow: focus, listen without judging, reformulate the information or ask questions to validate what we have seen. Simple but, this effective approach yields tangible results… most of the time!
Invariably, for this process to work one must have the humility, self-confidence combined with a strong enough self-esteem to accept that: ¨ maybe I do not understand. ¨ Rest assured that you will be more respected if you admit your misunderstanding rather than pretending that you have.
In order to assert our comprehension, we have listened to, validated and asked relevant questions, it becomes much easier to think and respond intelligently to the information that was given to us. Now that we have gathered all the facts, it is time to attempt a response by expressing a justified opinion.
I have the privilege to be surrounded by great people that are always ready to add value to what they say and do. Thus, they deserve the opportunity to take initiatives. In my view, taking initiatives means: suggesting a solution to a specific situation or event. But beware! Suggesting does not mean executing the situation. Your suggestion must be approved before putting it into action.
Which brings us to the beginning of the process: Listen, validate, understand and ask questions before taking action.
In conclusion: ¨by taking the initiative to completely understand before action will enable us to build constructive and rewarding conversations. The objective is to enhance our communication skills to be more efficient thus improving our productivity.