Ellen, matter of factly, commented on my style - "You know, the times when you say 'yeah' but aren't really paying attention" she said. Wow - that was telling it like it is - the truth. How many times do I act like I'm listening and really hear nothing the person is saying? More than I care to admit to.
If I could change one habit I have --- this would top the list. Tune in - look people in the eye, keep the mind from wandering and perform empathic listening. Unfortunately the mind is four times faster than speech and great temptation to optimize time and multitask. What are the techniques to avoid this temptation?
(1) Don't anticipate what the person is going to say next - something I do constantly in addition to interrupting them by suggesting the word they are about to say. (2) Let the speaker finish before you talk. Don't jump in with your editorials. (3) Let yourself finish listening before you begin to speak. This is the time to prepare what you are going to say next. Don't worry a 4 second pause between speech will never be noticed. (4) Listen for main ideas (this can be what you do instead of letting the mind wander). Key words will give you clues - "my point"; I think; remember; (5) Ask clarifying questions . "Tell me more"; restatements; I understand that ..... (6) Listen with the face. Give physical feedback - nod, smile, ponder..... let them know you are listening
Listening is about slowing down. Take your time to build the relationship.