The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…
-Rachel Naomi Remen
I hope this quote causes you to pause and to reflect upon your “listening” activity.
We all recognize its importance. We have a deep appreciation for those who we can count on to listen. We especially appreciate those who listen and “get” us. We especially appreciate those who listen to us and provide help.
But, like so many good habits, listening is something we know we should do, but fall short of our best efforts. There are distractions. Smart phones. Televisions. Ringing phones and emails. The thoughts and distractions that run through our head.
So, how well do you listen? What are the habits and behaviors which prevent you from being effective when listening times come?
I recommend a listening inventory.
How many intentional listening episodes do you have a day or week?
Are there few of them or many?
If few, why so? Are you available or behind a closed door?
Do you communicate a “closed” availability by keeping your nose in a phone?
Do you invite conversation by going to find it? Do you seek ideas and feedback?
Are your listening skills refined? Do you have good listening posture? Do you resist forming answers in your head while others are talking? Do you resist cutting others off before they are done?
For me, I know I can always listen more and better. I bet you can as well.