How would you like to use your personal development objectives to become a great communicator? Imagine the shock your family, friends and co-workers will feel when you suddenly turn into someone who actually listens and cares about what they are saying instead of making every conversation “all about you.”
Just stop talking and “tune in” to what others are saying. Now if you’re listening to a speaker on a teleconference or live presentation, I’d recommend you take detailed notes. Research has proven that the average person only recalls 25-50% of what they heard in a presentation or conversation.
This is why if someone asks you to explain something, say a business opportunity or details about this or that, ask them to make notes because you’re actually wasting your valuable time and theirs by even talking about something they’ll forget within hours. In a week or two, they will probably not remember one word of what you said.
It’s very important to develop listening skills so you can understand and respond intelligently.
Quality communication creates and builds rapport in any relationship, avoids any confusion down the road and leads to a higher degree of understanding of the expectations of those you deal with on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the average person has a short attention span and doesn’t listen as well as they should. This fact alone can create lots of challenges.
If All Else Fails, Pay Attention!
Isn’t it irritating to be in the middle of a conversation, only to look at the person you’re talking to in time to see them gazing off into the sunset, daydreaming of who knows what. In any case, they’re not listening to you. Not only is it rude on their part but it can cause you to feel unimportant and dismissed.
If you’re one of those people who can’t pay attention when others are speaking and your body language is screaming; “You don’t matter to me and I’m bored as hell.” Instead of texting someone on your iPhone or BlackBerry, staring out the window at the wind blowing in the trees or continually checking the time on your watch, try some techniques to keep your attention so you won’t be known as a poor listener.
Watch the person who is speaking and do everything you can to keep eye contact with them. Don’t fidget. Sit still and focus your attention. See if you can concentrate on the speakers’ movements, gestures, facial expressions and what they add to their presentation. Besides, you may learn something that can serve you well in the future.
Sit up straight and lean toward the speaker ever so slightly. Engage in the conversation or presentation by nodding in approval at something they say. Pay no attention to noise, the temperature in the room or other potential distractions. And for goodness sake don’t start chatting up the person sitting next to you. You’re not in High School anymore and you don’t need to distract the speaker.
First of all, do not interrupt a speaker or someone you’re conversing with. Allow them and/or the speaker to finish their sentence. Do your best not to allow bias and prejudice you may have toward someone just because they are different from you, perhaps in race or accent.
Of course, you may have an inner emotional response but do not allow anger, fear or negative emotions cloud the situation and put up a roadblock to understanding the message they are trying to convey.
Wait until they are finished speaking before you begin to formulate a response. Perhaps you won’t even feel the need to say anything once you hear their whole message. If you’re in a constant state of thinking of something in rebuttal to what they are saying you will miss much of what they’re discussing and rush to making a judgment call that upon later reflection wasn’t even necessary.
Humans think at approximately four times the pace of the speaker’s. Just relax and listen to what they are saying and give yourself the time to absorb and understand what’s being said.
If you have questions, by all means ask but try not to dominate the discussion with more than one or two questions. Never diminish or embarrass the speaker or come off as a know it all. Give someone else a chance to ask a question. Everyone would like to have others admire their intelligence or wit, but don’t appreciate arrogance.
Repeat back to the speaker what you’d like them to clarify in order to make certain your understanding is correct. Keep an open mind and be honest in your response and be respectful. You may well be up on a stage one day giving a presentation and I’m sure you’d like the same respect given you by others.
Make Yourself An Expert at Listening
Many people have the same complaint about friends, family, co-workers, spouses or partners. “They never listen to me when I’m talking to them.” That’s an expression as old as time. I’m sure it’s a centuries old complaint.
Obviously if you have someone in your life that absolutely drives you crazy because no matter what you ask or tell them, they forget it within minutes. You can tell them something and ask ten minutes later what you said to them and they may say they don’t remember. This can be the result of many things.
Perhaps you’re “nagging” at them constantly about the same thing and they have made the decision to tune you out. Or they are so self-absorbed they don’t care what you said. Either way, it’s an issue that needs to be looked at to be properly resolved.
If you’re the culprit and just zone out when people are talking to you then it’s your job to begin to have some compassion and work on your own listening skills.
A good listener is also a good communicator because they take the time to engage others in meaningful conversation, listen, understand what is being said, the message being conveyed then they take action.
The Best Communicator
Communication skills are one of the most important tools you can have whether for business or in your personal life. No one can be successful if they don’t know how to communicate. You can have the best product or service but if you don’t have a clue how to get your message across properly no one will listen or “get it.”
Naturally, if you lack communication skills there are an endless resource of classes or CDs, DVDs, books and online webinars or teleseminars you can sign up for and attend. There are free webinars on any subject you can imagine being given online every day. Go to Facebook or other Social Network sites and look for “free webinars” and sign up to attend as many as you can.
By hearing various speakers present their offers, you can determine who is the best at presenting and relaying their message in a cohesive and clear manner. If you have the urge to purchase their book, training system or product after hearing their presentation you can be sure they got their message across.
You may want to attend as many of their free webinars as possible and model the way they communicate. You can make huge improvements in the way you talk and communicate with everyone around you and you’ve done it at no out of pocket cost to you. Be creative and make a project out of your personal development objectives.