Talking to each other doesn’t mean talking at each other.
It isn’t listening for where they don’t align and then defending your position.
You need to ‘listen to link’. Listen to figure out where you both are coming from and how that can ‘link’ to create the right outcome.
You spend 80% of your day in conversation. In that time you are either talking, or listening, or mind wandering. If you had to allocate a percentage to these three could you do it? Are you sufficiently present in your conversations to know when to listen, to know when you are thinking about your own responses rather that listening? And are you open to listening for what someone is REALLY trying to articulate, or simply listening for what interests or benefits you.
The reality is that we are terrible listeners.
We listen for ourselves rather than for others, and this simply wastes a lot of time.
This often results in conversations where we talk AT each other.
I think a lot of our global and political conversations are taking that form at the moment, too. No-one is really listening to each other.
Having said that, it’s normal human behaviour, just not that useful in a world where information and communication takes precedence over physical work.
Your primitive brain is designed to seek out and pay more attention to information and clues that relate to you and your ‘safety’ and seek reward for you, and this gets in the way of true listening.
In our Conversations of Substance programs, the biggest realisation participants have is around listening…and I believe it’s the most useful skill we can teach!
So here’s my quick tip: It’s a thing I call ‘shrink-wrapping’. When we talk, and think out loud we use a lot of words. Listen intently to hone in on the one sentence summary of what someone is saying and ‘shrink-wrap’ it for them. Do this with 100% of your attention, knowing that your brain WILL know what to do and say next… it doesn’t need to plan ahead.
This helps both you and the other person be on the same page. Start your shrink-wrapping with words like…
‘So what you are saying is….’
‘So what I am hearing is….’
‘So what you are thinking is….’
‘So what you want to do is….’
Give it a go and see what difference it makes. Start to notice what percentage of time you spend talking, listening and planning your response. Trust me, it will save you hours and hours of your time!