When someone is talking to you, do you listen?
You’ll probably say, “of course!” But are you really hearing them? It seems that with so many distractions in our lives today and in the office that active listening is slowly slipping into extinction. Too often, we are so absorbed with ourselves and thinking about when we need to pick up the kids, what we are having for dinner, etc that we don’t actively listen when someone is talking. We’ve all done it, so you are not alone!
What can you do?
Start by actively listening, rather than passively listening (see above examples). Active listening requires that we set aside those distracting thoughts that consume our minds and focus solely on the person speaking. This may mean that we step away from our computer to give them our full attention. It also requires that we give them eye contact and encouraging non-verbals to let them know we agree with their ideas – and more importantly, that we hear them!
Try it today.
The next time you’re lured into letting your mind wander during a conversation, simply focus on the present and the speaker. Do this at least once today and before you know it, you’ll be on the path to becoming an active listener fostering respect with those you communicate with.