To be a better listener, you have to learn how to be heard.
It may sound counterintuitive, but this is the key to unconsciously being a good listener. Not feeling heard sabotages effective listening.
When you really feel like you’ve been heard by others…
- Are you more receptive to hearing what others have to say?
- Are you more open to listening to constructive criticism of yourself and/or your ideas?
If you answered “yes” to both questions, it means you’re human according to a marriage and family therapist I know. She shared that a successful therapist has to make each patient feel truly heard in order to have a productive group counseling session.
When you think about it, how different is that from what needs to happen in a typical business meeting?
Nothing good happens when people stop listening to each other.
When a person DOES feel heard…
He or she believes the other party “gets it.” They feel like the other party is on their side or, at the very least, empathetic.
They open their mind to really listening and considering what others have to say, even when they don’t agree. This is vital for productive collaboration.
When a person DOESN’T feel heard…
He or she will stop listening. They’ll often repeat themselves and may even get combative. They dig in their heels and close themselves off.
When a person doesn’t feel heard, it becomes “me versus them,” stopping collaboration and possibly damaging relationships.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to worry about this.
Everyone would be a highly skilled, open-minded, and undistracted listener with the time and energy to purposefully make others feel heard.
Does that sound like the world you live and work in?
Two more questions…
- Could how you communicate be the reason you’re not being heard by others?
- And, if you don’t feel heard, is it negatively impacting how you listen to others?
Learn how to be heard and become a better listener.
You can’t force other people to learn how to be better, more patient listeners. You can only control your own actions.
Take the time to learn the skills needed to make yourself heard—to rise above all the daily noise, mindshare competition, and digital distractions.
Then, once you feel like you’re consistently being heard by others, watch what happens. You’ll find that you unconsciously start doing a much better job of listening. And when that happens, everyone wins.
For tips on how you can improve your ability to be heard, check out the video: Three Keys to Influencing Others. For more than three decades, Mandel has helped professionals learn how to break through the noise and confidently communicate with credibility and conviction. Contact us to learn how or check out our Communication Training.