“I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention.”
One of the most challenging things I believe that people struggle with in this day and age is the art of listening And to be honest I believe it is getting worse than better. This is due in part to the devices that have the tendency to never leave our hands causing our brains to constantly be on overload. We become so distracted by our iPhones or even the TV after a long day we mistakenly tune out the rest of the world which can be our loved ones. And yes I’m guilty of this too. Just ask my family. I’m not proud of it either and it is something that I will continue to work on. Now if there is ever a person that epitomizes what a fantastic listener should be it is it is American broadcaster and journalist Diane Sawyer. She has been and still is one of the best interviewers by far. If you have ever watched her do an interview she channels all of her efforts on paying attention to each and every word that the person she is engaging with that they are saying. It really is a work of art to be honest. As she says in today’s quote the one lesson that she has learned is that nothing can replace the value of paying attention to someone else. And you know what? She is right.
When it comes to paying attention we are responsible for controlling our impulses and exhibiting strong self discipline. This will help us to become better active listeners. The website MindTools says there are five key techniques we can use to develop our active listening skills:
- Pay attention-Give the speaker your undivided attention, and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also “speaks” loudly.
- Show that you’re listening-Use your own body language and gestures to show that you are engaged.
- Provide feedback-Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect on what is being said and to ask questions.
- Defer judgment-Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.
- Respond appropriately-Active listening is designed to encourage respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting them down.
By utilizing these five techniques and practicing them consistently we will become better listeners in no time.
What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards managing yourself better?