Feel Real

The small child glanced over at his mother after the waitress looked him squarely in the eyes and took his food order.  “She thinks I’m real,” were his words to his mother.  When we truly listen to others, they feel real…not irrelevant, but a real person with thoughts, opinions and ideas.   
What’s the one thing that you did that changed the trajectory of everything else that happened in your life?  From a business context, I would honestly say it was teaching listening skills training 35 years ago.  The adage is, “we remember 90% of what we teach others.”  Being a good listener can change the trajectory of virtually everything in your life.
Listening to others makes them real.  Listening skills are crucial if you want to have a good relationship with others.  It helps avoid misunderstandings or confusion.  You can even stop possible conflicts before they start. 
This virtually intense working environment may actually be the ticket to helping us concentrate on improving this essential life skill.  It teaches us to wait until others have finished their thought or response.  We see the yellow tile filled when the person is talking.
You know you need to improve your listening skills when you interrupt people mid-sentence,  when you believe you already know what she is going to say, and when you are practicing your response instead of  paying attention to his every word.        
Why aren’t we better listeners?  We want to get across our own viewpoints before hearing others.   Practicing these five things can make you a better listener:
Good listening starts with eye contact.  You need to keep your eyes on the person who is talking.
Focus completely on the person.  Pay attention to that person like they are a friend.  Be truly present in the conversation.
Develop the skill to ask well-crafted questions based on your own genuine interest in what the person is saying.  Clarify what you heard them say.  Use non-threatening prompts such as:  Tell me more, describe that, how do you mean, can we talk about that?
Repeat back what you heard to ensure that you got all the details right.  When you have to tell someone else what you heard, you listen more intently.  Think of the acronym PTR—it means Plan to Report what you heard to someone else. 
The most important aspect of listening—that you remember what was said.  If you need to write it down, that sends a message that the words of the other person are important to you.   
Great listeners make others feel REAL!  When you listen actively, you gain greater respect and influence.  A for AcknowledgeL for Listen.  We are headed for the ALPS—the pinnacle of experiences.  Look for upcoming segments on what P and S stand for.  Have an EXTRA fantastic day!

                                                              Thank you!  
                                                                          ~Mari & Monica