Stop, look, listen. How many of us remember that when we were being told to be safe crossing the road? Good advice and still is.
There has recently been a study into our use of listening skills in terms of understanding others better. It was carried out at Yale University in the US. The study found that closing our eyes when listening allows us to better understand what is being said, pick up more accurately on the nuances of tone and attitude and listen for the ‘between the lines’ meaning.
There are times when it would be fine to close our eyes when listening, but mostly it would not be appropriate! What we can do though is heed the advice we were given when young – Stop, Look, Listen!
Stop what you are doing – concentrate on the other person, don’t allow distractions like carrying on typing something into your phone or reading the paper.
Look at the person – get in tune with what they are saying and how they are saying it. Are they being congruent? Does what they say, the tone they are using and the body language they demonstrate, fit together?
Listen – don’t pretend to listen or listen selectively for what you want to hear. Listen attentively, empathise (but not necessarily agree)
By employing these skills more we will develop better communication , understanding and reduce time wastage. Isn’t it amazing how much time is wasted going back to someone to check understanding or saying ‘ I thought you meant….’ or ‘didn’t you say…….’ By not giving enough time for effective communication, we often get understanding wrong. This is what we can do to make a difference and be more professional.
Remember Stop, Look, Listen!