Provided we have two ears that work and a voice in our head we often think we are good communicators. But are we? Communication is an art.
Why is it in our busy lives we are so eager to finish people’s sentences, to form our response to their thoughts before they have even completed them, and to make sure our voice is heard as quickly as possible? Is that really listening and communicating effectively?
Recently I was listening to a client and I had already formulated in my mind the answer to why she was feeling upset. As a coach we are taught to “ask good quality questions” so instead of assuming I was correct I asked her a question (which of course I believed I already knew the answer). Boy was I wrong! By the very fact of just asking the question and waiting patiently for the response, what I received was a deep subconscious thought process going on that surprised my client, and definitely surprised me. Neither of us saw that coming.
In every day life you may have different opportunities to network socially with others. I would like to put out a challenge to you.
Next time you are having a conversation with another person, I would like to you formulate one question to seek clarity about what the person has just told you. It may be “how did that make you feel”, or “then what happened”, or “what was your response to that situation”, or “who else was there”. Whatever question is appropriate to gain more information and with that more understanding of what is being shared with you.
Often we may think that others are like us, but the reality is there are 72 different personality types in the world and with that comes 71 different ways of thinking, seeing, and feeling. So seek clarification, ask for more information, and see if you can have a conversation at a deeper level than usual.
An interesting thing will happen. The other person will feel listened to, they will felt heard, and they will believe you are truly ‘present’ with them in their conversation. When you do this, your head will empty of your ‘quick and accurate’ response, and you will put the focus back on the other person.
Try it and see for yourself what happens.
In my experience, people will start to open up to you and share things they didn’t intend to share. Then they will wonder how ‘you made them do that’. The truth is that you are simply listening, being engaging, and communicating effectively. The world will change with your new skills of communicating.