Most people think they learned how to listen in kindergarten, but this isn’t exactly the case. You may have learned to hear people when they talk, but you didn’t necessarily get into the habit of actively listening to them. In our daily work lives, our relationships suffer, we miss out on a lot of information, and, ultimately, we make our jobs harder because we don’t pay attention to what people are saying.
It’s in your best interest to avoid unnecessary communication breakdowns caused by a failure to listen. You can start by learning the ways that you might unconsciously filter out what others are saying. There are four kinds of filters:
Once you’ve identified what types of filters you use and under what circumstances you use them, employ these suggestions for practicing “filter prevention,” and also for becoming an active and involved listener:
You can encourage others to listen to you by emphasizing key points, and by asking for a restatement of your message in the person’s own words. Make your position relevant to the listener, and, as a general rule, listen more than you talk. You will stand out as a person colleagues consider it a pleasure to talk to!
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