Can you hear me now?

Posted by: Sara Grasmon

ear 2Have you ever said something to someone and then questioned (to yourself, of course) if they actually heard what you were saying? I’m guessing your answer is yes, because I know mine is. Whether it’s when I try talking to my sister while she’s reading or when I blabber about baseball to my non-sports-crazy friends, it happens.

(Confession: Sometimes, I’m even the one who listens but doesn’t hear.)

Sure, we all know those people who always talk but rarely say anything, but for the purpose of this post, let’s just pretend everyone who ever says anything is always saying something. So, without further ado, here are three tips that will help you hear:

1. Focus on the person. Concentrate on the present, and stop thinking about the past and future. Resist the temptation to rehash the meeting you just left or make a grocery list in your head. Keep your attention on the person and the message they are sharing.

2. Engage yourself. Again, live in the present. Ask questions, offer commentary when appropriate and connect their ideas to your knowledge. Don’t just be someone for others to talk at. Be someone for them to talk with.

3. Summarize and restate. Repeat what you heard to make sure both you and the speaker are on the same page. This provides an opportunity to clarify points, and it shows that you were not only listening but also hearing what was said.

These tips will enhance communication, increase productivity and strengthen relationships. Try try them out, and stop listening, start hearing.

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