When you think about your role in your personal and professional relationships and the things that you contribute to those relationships, how do your listening skills hold up? Surprisingly, the vast majority of people are poor listeners. Poor listeners are less effective leaders and partners as they have a more difficult time understanding the needs of others and how to satisfy them. Poor listeners can also have a more difficult time absorbing and processing information. Here are some signs that you are bad listener and some things you can do to improve your listening skills:
You Listen with a Response Planned
If you are someone who listens with the intent of being able to respond (i.e., you are in a fight with your spouse and you have something to say back), this is one sign that you are a less-than-effective listener. The best listeners listen to understand and digest what is being said, not just to reply.
When you are having a conversation, it is natural to speak back and forth with both parties contributing. Do you interrupt when someone else is in the middle of a thought? If you’re not sure, record a conversation you have with someone else and play it back a few days later. How often do you interject?
You Don’t Show Interest
The worst of listeners show no interest in what the speaker is saying. This can be demonstrated physically such as looking at your phone while someone is talking to you. A lack of interest is also demonstrated in your replies – do you just assume answers to things you don’t know? Do you follow the topic and ask relevant questions?
How do your listening skills stack up?
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