Are You Hearing or Listening? Five Benefits of Listening
The Difference between Hearing and
Let’s Bottom Line It
We’re horrible listeners and listening is basis for effective communication. Stephen Covey said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
Dialogue is often viewed like a tennis match. It’s the back and forth. Your “opponent” hits the ball to you and your job is to hit it back. You want to score the point; you want to win. But, to listen effectively, listen to receive the meaning without worrying about “scoring a point.” Once you understand, then you can respond. Being quiet gives you the opportunity to hear the words, the tone, and the meaning behind the words. It gives you the chance to observe the speaker’s body language. Never underestimate non-verbal cues. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
Listening Has Benefits
Effective listening helps to resolve conflicts, build trust, inspire people, and strengthen teams. That’s especially important to leadership.
Benefit 1: You’ll Gather Critical Facts before Making Decisions
Spend most of your conversations listening and you’ll absorb the information as it is given to you. If you collect all of the facts instead of jumping to assumptions, you’re able to make a well-informed decision. When you stop worrying about what you’re going to say and focus on what’s being said, you will put more thought into what you want to communicate.
Benefit 2: You Can Uncover Underlying Issues
Intuitive listeners are looking for the story behind the message, and the opportunity beyond the issue. Listening is about discovery, and discovery doesn’t only impact the present, but it can also influence the future.
When someone is speaking to you, it’s easy to zone out and just focus on bits and pieces of what they’re saying. Listen carefully to what they are saying, how they are saying it, and what seems to be left out. There may be an underlying issue of which you weren’t even aware. Hear them out completely.
Benefit 3: Active Listeners Have More Successful Interpersonal Relationships
Listening with active attention supports the speaker and helps build their confidence. People feel valued when they are listened to and this promotes feelings of trust and respect. In return, greater cooperation ensues. Active listeners have greater powers of persuasion because they encourage mutual feelings of respect. Active listening helps to glean additional information from the speaker and good listeners are able to initiate resolutions to misunderstandings more easily.
Benefit 4: You Avoid “Trifling” Conversation
If you decide to listen more, and speak less than you normally would, you only say what needs to be said. Your opinions make a greater impact and your points are succinct. Benjamin Franklin said, “Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; Avoid trifling Conversation.”
Benefit 5: You’ll Recognize the Contributions of Others
When you listen more, you see how others contribute. You’ll see how people contribute energy, ideas, actions or results. Few things go as far in building good will as recognizing others and you’ll end up learning a thing or two that you didn’t know.