Hearing But Not Listening: Why Active Listening is Essential
Listening is a heavily-used skill in everyday life – yet it’s one quality that tends to be overlooked the most. Listening is an art, a skill and, a discipline. Like all skills, it needs self-control to be effective.
Daily, I make active listening a priority while keeping three simple things in mind:
Listening builds relationships, relationships build trust, and trust achieves goals.
As a Recruiter and Personal Trainer, I engage and connect with people every day. I’m passionate about people and helping them reach their goals. Whether it’s individuals looking to make a job/career change, clients who are looking to hire top talent, or individuals who want to achieve their fitness/lifestyle goals, active listening is the first step to learning and building rapport and trust. If one isn’t truly listening, then we don’t receive the message being communicated. Lastly, if we don’t receive the message, we can’t act appropriately, keeping us from having effective strategic and/or goal-oriented conversations.
As I engage in conversations, regardless of the purpose or type of clients I am working with, I make it a priority to keep the following “guidelines” top of mind:
Mutual Understanding is the Goal
It’s ok to have silence and not fill the quiet space. Allowing silence can often draw out additional thoughts and important details. Additionally, quieting one’s thoughts and really engaging with an open mind aides in a deeper understanding of the overall message.
Asking for clarification engages the other person and allows you to learn more. Focus on how you can help. What are their pain points?
It’s easier said than done, but it’s important to be mindful of this. It’s better to wait until they have finished their thought to insert your thoughts and questions.
Close your laptop, put your phone away and connect with the person across the table. Do this and I guarantee you will make a positive connection. The energy alone will be a reminder of what’s possible if you focus on what the other person has to say.
Be Genuine and Sincere
Successful relationships are built on mutual trust.
What are you doing to build successful relationships? How do you connect with people? At what point does the magic happen for you? As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I challenge you to make a commitment to becoming an active listener. I guarantee you will build trust, your relationships will flourish, and the people you connect with will have a much more memorable and rewarding experience.
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