Discover Why Listening is a Good Thing
December 15, 2017 - December 15, 2017
There are two parts to good communication. One is the actual art of talking to someone while the other is listening to someone.
“Be interested and not interesting.” I just love this one-liner, and quote it every time I’m coaching. I want young people to understand the importance of listening more to what others have to say to them rather than others having to listen to them.
If you actually think about it, when we meet someone new, say in Business, the conversation usually takes the form of “Hello, my name is Eric. What do you do?” This is an excellent start. However, how many times, while you’re listening to this new person, you think that you know exactly what they’re going to say, and you interrupt them and finish off their sentence?
I’m sure that you’re saying, “No, Eric, I never interrupt anyone. I always let them finish their sentence”. However, you know as well as I do, that the majority of people love interrupting people when they’re talking??
So, my first challenge to you is the following. For the next twenty-four hours, whenever you are having a conversation, do not interrupt the other person and let them finish their sentence before you respond. You might find this difficult, but if you achieve this, then you will become a better listener in the future. You will also get a lot more respect from those you’re talking to.
I don’t know about you, but I get most frustrated when I get interrupted as I sometimes then forget my train of thought, and when it’s my turn to talk, I forget what I wanted to say when I was interrupted.
So, listening more and interrupting less is on trial for the next twenty-four hours.
Again, back to when I coach in schools & colleges, it reminds me of my school days when teachers would quite often address certain pupils with, “Would you look at me when I’m talking”. The reason for this, as you already know, is that the teacher believes that the pupil is not listening to them.
Unfortunately, not all teachers in those days, appreciated that some of us are auditory people and hear things to interpret and understand, while others are visual people and need to see things before they interpret and understand what is being said. So that poor student with his head down on the desk, possibly dawdling, could get told off by the teacher for not listening and yet they could most likely repeat back to the teacher precisely what they were saying.
So, the art of listening does not always have to be with eye contact between two people.
Do you think that it is important to be a good listener at an interview? Of course it is. I can remember when I used to work for Unilever and Grand Met, two big multi-national companies, and I had to interview potential recruits for my departments. The number of times I would ask a question and get a response that bore no relation to the question that I’d asked.
Was it my accent that they couldn’t understand? Was it the way that I had phrased the question? Were they just not listening to what I’d actually asked and were just in awe of the office they were sitting in?
Whatever the reason was, there has to be a way at an interview to make sure that you answer the actual question you are being asked, and not the question that you think you are being asked. Of course, there is a way, and so whether it’s you, or a friend you know, that is going for an interview, the advice is as follows.
When you are not sure exactly what the question is, please do one of the following two things. Either, ask the interviewer to please repeat the question or, in your own words, repeat the question to the interviewer and ask him/her to clarify whether or not you are right in what you are saying.
Do this, and you are maximising the probability that you have a good interview, as well as showing the interviewer that you are a good listener.
(Eric pictured right).
GOOD LUCK and remember that “we have two ears and one mouth” and we should use them in that ratio.