To “Stop Talking and Start Hearing” is an important message for all of us, not just for others.
Do you sometimes feel that you need to improve your communication skills at work (verbal and nonverbal)?
Or… are you a person who feels improving communication skills is just for the other person?
Communication is a key component to effective leadership, team building, and business success. We know through experience why teaching communication skills in our programs and with our private clients is essential. Yet, many people take communication for granted. I can talk, you can talk—sure! But listen up—it’s all too easy to forget to communicate well… all of us must learn to stop talking and start hearing. Pause… and listen…
However, if you (and I) are honest with ourselves, the listening part of communication isn’t always easy, or the strongest, most natural skill. Here, at Leading Edge Teams, we focus on this skill because in work (and in life) communicating with one another to create positive interactions may seem simple and basic, yet actually are not—this is one of the common misconceptions that trip people up. I guarantee developing communication skills is well worth your time.
Right now, if you are one of the many people who don’t feel that you need to worry about effective communication and the skill of active listening, then I suggest you read on to learn more about the talking and hearing aspects of communication!
Whatever your role in the business, to be your best self, and to perform at your best, learn to be mindful and conscious about your communication style. It can be a challenge to recognize your own style of communication, though we have no trouble noticing attributes and downfalls in others. So this is all the more reason to make it a priority.
This week, think about the effectiveness of your communication as you work together with people in a common space, with common goals. Consider the words you speak. Can you pause, get curious enough to stop talking and start hearing? Your ability and desire to be an active listener who also has “welcoming nonverbal communication”, is one of the ways your leadership will stand out.
To Communicate Well, Stop Talking and Start Hearing
Active Listening Transforms Teams
HEAR! Tips to become more conscious of how to develop active listening skills:
- Be present in the conversation. Try not to let your mind wander. Make eye contact and have open body language. Give the person speaking your undivided attention.
- Strive to stay in the moment, and avoid thinking what you are going to say next.
- Relate with feelings of understanding and empathy: Be conscious and respectful of the person’s thoughts, even though they may not match your own.
- Attentively listen, rather than preparing your response at the same time. Hear to be clear!
- Enjoy a sense of curiosity about what a person is thinking. Be eager to hear their complete thinking and insight. This builds a meaningful, trusted relationship, and leads to productive and creative brainstorming.
- Seek to understand their reasoning, perspective and experience. Act with integrity.
- Voice a confirming response, “That’s interesting. Could you tell me more about…” or “I love that thought, plan, goal…” whatever it is…
- Refrain from judgment, a quick retort or opposing thought. Instead, pause to consider: What do they know that I don't know? How are they seeing this through a different lens than I am? What can I learn from their perspective?
- Read other people's body language. Be compassionate. Notice nonverbal clues of distress and anxiety through the other person’s nervousness, silence, lack of eye contact, stress, difficulty explaining, facial expressions, etc.
- Choose active listening, deeper listening, and inquire, “How is this change impacting you?” Listen. Seek to understand the human life circumstances that are influencing a person’s resistance to change or negativity in the work environment. Your empathy and compassion at such times offers the person much needed safety, which often leads to resolving the issue at hand.
I appreciate that we are people, not robots. And active listening is demonstrated through a honest commitment to sincerely apply active listening skills. I encourage you to make it a habit to stop talking and start hearing! You can learn to exercise this just like a muscle. What may take conscious discipline to make an ongoing practice, will flow out to create a myriad of benefits throughout your company culture.
When you stop talking and actively listen, your team transforms.
Evidence is seen in unified visions, productivity, ease in collaboration for company outcomes and employee retention.
When you really hear your team or coworker, it’s like a speed dial to positive interactions and mutual trust. This contributes to more ease in decision making, collaborative problem-solving, cross-functional communications, and overall enjoyment on the job.
From here, learn and connect by listening! It makes work and life much more interesting.Awareness & Choice lead you to success!
Barbara Schindler, Executive Coach, Entrepreneurial Consultant, COO
Communication and business innovation is unlocked by HEARING fresh perspectives. Barbara is passionate about leaders and teams learning to be mindful and compassionate communicators in their company culture. Besides decades of diverse business experience, Barbara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Behavior and Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Ryokan College, as well as a Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica.