When was the last time you were in a conversation and sensed that the other person wasn’t listening to you?
I don’t know about you, but in those moments, I feel deflated.
I don’t feel seen, heard, acknowledged, or a reason to continue talking.
Or…….how about this scenario….
You’re telling a story to someone, and share something meaningful about your life…
“Hey, last night, I met someone who I believe can help me get an interview at the company I really want to work for.”
…..and in response, rather than listening and acknowledging your story, they share their own personal story back at you…
“Oh yah, I’ve been meaning to start looking for a new job myself. I can’t stand my boss!”
Here are 3 potential outcomes from this type of dialogue:
1) The conversation lacks trust
2) The conversation contains resentment
3) The conversation ends
The reason being is very simple — the person who responded wasn’t listening.
I work with a lot of teams within organizations, and find that listening is a lost art; people are too distracted, or self-absorbed, and aren’t fully showing up to be in service to the people around them.
This causes major problems and breakdowns in communication and can lead to long-standing and often irreversible issues.
Sometimes “not listening” comes in the form of advice giving, or anticipating what to say next…
Let’s say you’re on the phone with a prospect and they start telling you what they’re looking for, “Hey, I’m looking for a big couch for our living room”...and as soon as they do, you start to immediately come up with responses that you feel will support them in their efforts.
“Oh, we’ve got this awesome couch in the back that will undoubtedly look great!”
In those moments when you start to pre-maturely formulate your response, you’re not listening; you don’t know the entire story, and at that point, you really don’t know what’s best for them…
Perhaps there’s an opportunity to furnish their entire house, but you missed out on it, because you wanted to handle the couch situation ASAP.
As you move through your work day, take notice if people are actually listening to one another – are you listening to the people around you?
Listening is one of the most powerful skills that you can develop to empower yourself and others.
Perhaps you’re an amazing listener, and this serves as a nice reminder. If so, nice work! If not, try it on and see how it goes.