When chatting with friends I was recently reminded how important it is to be sure that we remember to be effective in our efforts to communicate. It is so easy to assume that others know what you know and spout off thinking they are on same wavelength.
This happens all time and sadly very few are prepared to reveal their ignorance and get clarification. You will have come across this at seminars.
I remember discussing an IT issue with a former colleague and after two hours wondering why we could not progress. The penny suddenly dropped when I realised that his understanding of a key definition was at variance with mine and if we had understood and resolved variance earlier we would have saved two valuable hours.
It is so important to be clear on what you are trying to communicate and ‘listening’…
Hearing and listening are two very different things. Master listening and you will perceive more.
Listening is part of skill used in communication that we often take for granted. We are not taught to listen but we can easily fall into trap of failing to concentrate, drawing our own conclusions too soon, hearing what we want to hear by filtering message through our own experiences and prejudices.
We need to maintain interest with an open mind and respond to what we hear in a meaningful manner. We need to be constructive with our responses, seek clarification and contribute positively.
As we only take in 30% of what we hear so it’s important to be attentive. I find I am able to listen very well on telephone because I am less likely to interject (being an enthusiastic listener!!!) so I think carefully about what is being said before I make a response.
Questions are important to create understanding. Leading questions can be destructive, such as “don’t you think it would be better if….?” This can have effect of leading conversation where you want it to go. Strong expressions of opinion don’t help in creating trust and understanding.