One of the biggest problems people say they have is communication.  What exactly is the problem?  Humans are blessed with a brain that allows for some of the most complex communication possible in the animal kingdom yet it seems to be one of our biggest challenges.

Think about how many interactions you have where you give every possible detail only to find the person who was supposed to be listening misinterpreted or missed some vital point.  I have read that in 80% of customer interactions, the customer is given a solution before they completely describe their need.

Why is this?  Why do we have such problems with communication?

I believe it starts with how poorly most of us listen, certainly my wife can tell you how poorly I do it.  But what is it we need to do to listen better?

  1. Get rid of distractions. Don’t try to do something else while interacting.  Put down your damn phone and focus on the other person.
  2. Don’t assume you know what the other person is going to say or how they feel.
  3. Stop thinking about how you are going to reply. Rather, begin making a mental outline of what they say and prepare to repeat back the key points.
  4. Ask the other party if your version is what they meant. Don’t think you know what they meant; this is where communication problems typically begin.

Once you both agree that you really “heard” each other, you can begin to find solutions to whatever problem exists.  Whether it is family or business, better communication can heal many wounds and solve many problems.

One thought on “Listening

  1. A simple truth that I struggle with every day. When people feel heard, they feel safe and supported. a couple of minutes of undivided attention have so much power in our relationships. Thanks for the reminder, Neal!

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