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How to Be a Listener Who Always Connects

By Sandy Schroeder

In a fast-moving world that’s full of words, it’s frustrating when ours do not connect. Wherever we are, on the job, at home, or out in the community, we all struggle at times to make ourselves understood.

Fast Company suggests we become better listeners if we really want to be heard. Stephanie Vozza points out the average person has an eight-second attention span, which explains why a lot of words miss their mark.

Here are some ways to listen better to connect more.

Stop and listen to the other person - Let go of your own script and try to understand what is being said. Instead of mentally preparing what you will say next, quiet your own mind and focus on what they are trying to tell you. Then you will know what to say in return.

Listen for facts, not just to be polite - Experts on listening tell us to listen to learn, not because it’s someone else’s turn to speak. When we want to hear the other person’s thoughts to find out about new things we are on the right track.

Ask all kinds of questions - When you ask questions, you invite people to give you their thoughts. “Listening with real intent means I’m going to be open to being very wrong, and I’m comfortable with that in this conversation,” says Hal Gregersen, MIT Leadership Center. That’s the spirit that can make a conversation flow.

Let the other person finish speaking - You may be eager to jump right in with your thoughts, but when you fail to let the other person finish you may miss important information and give the impression that you think you are more important than they are, according to Gregersen.

Restate what you heard - To avoid misunderstandings and really get the speaker’s message, summarize what you heard. If the speaker agrees, you can go ahead. If there is a mistake, now’s the time to have the speaker explain what they want you to know.

Listen twice as much as you talk - You already know what you have to say, but you will learn more if you listen more. If you are in a meeting taking notes, keep a running count of the amount people speak. More effective speakers usually make their point directly and quickly. People who are obsessed with their own views often speak at length as everyone zones out. Listen and learn what really works to reach everyone in the group. Then keep that in mind when it’s your turn to speak.

Listening and speaking effectively are skills that actually pay off. Keep practicing to make yours work for you wherever you are.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Dacula, Ga.

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