Non-effective listening, did you ever think it was a major negative default behavior? Working with Baby Boomers, I’ve found one very interesting characteristic of those retried or getting ready to retire. It has to do with listening effectively. Baby Boomers talk about their dreams and goals in retirement but (http://adventurejerky.com) sometimes they don’t express these ideas very distinctly with their partners. Sometimes there is a fear of their goals not being accepted or even being rejected. When this type of fear appears, we move into what we call “default behaviors.” We actually avoid key conversations because we worry about what the outcome may be. Maybe we worry the conversation may go in the wrong direction and we don’t get a chance to work on our goals.
Here is the key to having great conversations, it’s not about what we have to say. That’s right, it’s not always about what we have to say. But rather showing empathy and listening to what the other person has to say. It’s amazing what happens when empathy is applied to a conversation, especially key conversations.
So, what are the keys to really good listening? First, we need to understand our default behavior when we have a conversation. In most conversations, we don’t listen to understand but rather we listen in order to reply. We actually wait for when there is a break in the conversation. When our partner pauses for a breath, we jump in with our perspective or our bit of advice. We almost fear silence and jump in to squelch that silence. This default behavior is believing the important part of communication is what we say. When actually the listening step to hear what the other person has to say is most important.
It is fascinating to watch what happens when another person feels like they are being listened to effectively. They open up and suddenly they are receptive to what you have to say. All of a sudden goals and dreams get discussed in earnest and open, honest conversation takes place.
Think about the impact we could have with family members, friends and peers if we changed our listening skills. Where we truly try to listen to what the other person is saying. If we listen with the intent to truly understand, people will share with us what their goals, wants and needs are. They will also share the solutions they are looking for to possibly solve these needs.
Effective listening with the intent to understand, it takes practice but it is well worth the effort.
Be sure to tune into our new radio program “The Adventures of Unstructured Time” with your hosts Chuck Inman and Ron Hoesterey. We cover stories and concepts dealing with Baby Boomers plans for retirement. The program will be aired on 21.6 THE NET 11:00-12:00AM CST on Monday mornings and a repeat of the recorded program on Tuesdays from 7:00-8:00pm, Wednesdays 3:00-4:00PM, Thursdays 6:00-7:00PM and Fridays 11:00-12:00AM, again at 21.6 THE NET. You can also find the show as a podcast on Anchor.FM
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