To Speak is to Listen

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    To Speak is to Listen


    To Speak is To Listen – Part 1 of 3

    To speak effectively you must listen effectively; how can you reply if you haven’t really heard what was said? Effective listening is an advantage during interviews, meetings, presentations – any social situation which requires you to connect with others.

    Speaking is reaction: Suzie asks for a rundown of the day’s agenda. How she says it, why she says it, when she says it… all of it can cause a reaction.
    To react effectively you must first pay attention and listen to your audience, whether your audience is one person or one thousand. The moment you step onto that stage, your audience is giving you signals – laughter, silence, eye contact – and it is your job to listen carefully and react authentically.

    Listed below is part 1 of 3 in our series “Habits that Prevent Listening”. Check out the first one below and see if anything applies to you. Try and note these moments in your every day interactions. In the next few weeks we’ll expand the list and then delve deeper for a total of 12 blocks. And don’t worry, we’ve all be guilty of wanting to be the Star.

    The Star

    The person is speaking, and so are you. On the outside you may seem attentive but in your mind you are rehearsing your own monologue, imagining what you are going to say, how you are going to say it and how the person will react. This can cause you to miss essential bits of information that could make your speech more effective.

    • Mirroring: Though you seem to be looking at the person, you only see yourself. Everything they say somehow leads back to you and your own experiences and associations. Furthermore, you tend to share these stories before the person can finish their own. Though mirroring can be a tool for connection, used in excess can create disconnect since the person never feels like they are fully heard.
    • Dreaming: you are half listening, and something the person says suddenly triggers a chain of private associations. You are more prone to dreaming when you feel bored or anxious.
    • Spotlight: The person is speaking, but the spotlight is on you. Self-consciousness; worrying about the way the person sees you and is judging you can make it difficult to authentically listen to the other person.
    • Placating: You want people to like you, so you agree with everything they say and are not authentically involved.

    Remember, these aren’t initially “bad,” but used in excess or not enough can create obstacles in effective communication. You need to gauge for yourself if you feel like you’re over using one habit, or not in the right context.  And if you’re not sure?

    Just ask!

    It’s always okay to ask the person if you’re understanding them correctly, or to take a pause and assess where you’re connected.

    Next up is The Writer! A well-meaning but often overused habit that really blocks effective listening and deeper connections.


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