Seek First to Understand .... Then to Be Understood
Formulating our responses as people talk can limit our actual understanding of their message. Listening with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply, allows us to be active listeners. We can determine our responses after we’ve heard the message. This also eliminates most misunderstandings.
Before you speak, ask:
- Listening is as important as speaking.
- Pay attention to what is being said and how it is being said
- Show that you are listening by reflecting what is being said, using nonverbal responses.
- Ask questions to clarify or summarize what has been said
- Get rid of your hidden agendas. They’ll keep you focused on how to convince people, rather than listening.
- Check your assumptions
- Practice Active Listening
- Acknowledge the need to meet other people’s communication needs.
- How do they need to hear your message?
- Notice how others speak
- Adapt your language and style to maximize understanding
- If the message is not understood, the communicator needs to reframe the message
- Practice Thoughtful Speaking