We all need to start listening better. I have thought about this on and off for quite a while. There are things that I've told to people numerous times and when I tell them the same thing for the 10th time, they act like they've never heard it before. At first, I just thought maybe they had a bad memory. Then, the more I thought about it, I realized there is no way that many people in my life have that bad of a memory. It's not usually a memory problem; It's a listening problem.
We all need to start practicing better listening skills. Parents, kids, leaders, friends, co-workers, spouses-this one is for you.
Here are three listening skills I challenge you to try when someone is speaking with you:
1. Put down your phone.
Silence it if possible. If you need to reference something on your phone during the conversation, have at it! However, texting and constant scrolling should not be a part of the conversation.
2. Clear your mind.
Don't think about what you are making for dinner, the drive home, the laundry you need to do, the other friend you need to talk to, the workout you have ahead of you. Be present in the moment, not the future. Be respectful of the other person and the precious time they are giving to you.
3. Wait your turn.
Don't interrupt the person because you think you have a thought you think need to get out at that exact moment. Wait for the natural "bump" in the conversation to enter your thoughts and comments. I say "bump" because that's kind of what it feels like. A little bump or nudge that is your intuition telling you it's your turn.
Waiting your turn can be a tricky one to execute because sometimes people go on and on and on and never give you a chance to speak. In this case, sometimes interrupting may be necessary. If they think you are rude because of it, maybe you need to try to limit your conversations with this person since they don't give you a chance to speak. If you know you are about to have a conversation with someone that is going to go on and on, set a timer. I've done this with someone before. I told them upfront that I had another meeting and would need to set a timer so I wasn't late. They were totally respectful of my honesty and limits.
There they are! Better listening skills you can easily work on. These are merely suggestions based on my own observations. Give your full self to the next person you speak with. We humans are here for each other and we all deserve the very best of each other.