Welcome to the second half of a two-part series on active listening. In last week’s post, we looked at the many benefits of increasing active listening. This week we’re going to discuss strategies that will help us all become better listeners.
Admittedly, I’m not where I’d like to be when it comes to active listening. Especially when it comes to listening to something I disagree with. I find my brain defensively starts piecing together my rebuttal as I’m “listening”. When I listen to respond instead of listening to understand I’m likely missing at least a part of the intention of the person I’m conversing with.
One of the things I love so much about creating Whole Assistant is that I get to walk my journey with you all! I’m not an expert on a lot of the topics I cover on this blog and yet I cover them anyway. Why? I want to grow and if you’re reading this that means you want to grow too and growth is exciting!
Please check out this video where I’ll share three things I’ve found helpful on my journey to be a more active and intentional listener.
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Hey, guys. I'm Annie at wholeassistant.com, and this month we are talking all about active listening because this topic often goes overlooked in what we do as assistance and active listening is actually really vital to our careers as assistants. Last week we discussed the three benefits or three benefits that I have found to be true in my career as an executive assistant of active listening and of improving our active listening skills. And this week we are going to talk about three ways to improve our active listening and three ways that I have found to be helpful for me. So I would like to hear from you guys too, so be sure to leave a comment below and let me know what your ideas are with regards to active listening. I would love to hear and I'd love to get a conversation going.
So the first way that we can all improve her active listening is to focus on listening to understand and not listening to respond. I touched on this in last week's post just a little bit, but so oftentimes when we're listening to somebody, we are listening with the intent of responding to what are we going to say back. And oftentimes it can be from a place of defensiveness, but we aren't really taking in what is actually being told to us, what we're actually hearing and the information that we need in order to digest in order to move forward with a project or with the situation. So my first big, big tip is to listen to truly understand, and it can be really hard because our brains will just go and go and go. And so just be aware that that will probably happen. It happens to all of us. I know it happens to me on a regular basis, but if I can actually kind of detach from that and take a step back and actually be present in listening to understand instead of listening to respond, I found it really, really helpful. So that is tip number one, listen to understand, don't listen to respond.
Tip number two is to put the devices away. I am sure we have all been phone snubbed before where you're talking to someone and then they pick up their phone and they're just doodling around on it. It kind of drives me nuts. However, I've been guilty of it too. So, if you really want to be engaged with somebody and you really want to actively listen to what they're telling you, be fully present with them.
And then my third tip is to let go of any pressure to respond right away. So this one is linked to number one. So oftentimes when we listen to respond, we are taking all the information as I just said before, but then we want to also relieve ourselves of pressure to respond right away so we can actually take in the information that we've just heard and digested a little bit, sit on it for a little bit and then come up with a plan of action. And you can just always say, okay, that's great. I'm going to get back to you. You've given me some really good food for thought and I'll get back with you this afternoon or in a few minutes, I just want to process a little bit first. And there is nothing wrong with that. So oftentimes we put pressure on ourselves, especially as assistants to have an answer or to come up with a solution right away, but I don't think that's necessary. I think that sometimes if we take a step back, we're actually more inclined to come up with better solutions, better overall thought processes around a situation.
So those are my three best tips for improving our active listening skills. I want to hear from you guys, so please leave a comment below and let me know your other tips for becoming a more active, more engaged listener. Okay, guys, that's all for now. Please hit the Subscribe button below and I look forward to speaking with you next week when I will have a guest for my resource corner post, Dave Momper of Thrival Concepts. It's going to be awesome. We're going to learn all about listening intelligence. So I hope you guys have a great rest of your week and I'll talk to you soon.
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