What you think isn’t that important

They met, like they almost always did, for lunch. They were exited to try a new barbeque place in town. It was small but clean and the line went from the counter to the door. It was intriguing. She wanted to chat about a couple things so after getting situated on a couple stools that faced the side-walk they started talking.

It didn’t go that well because he didn’t listen well.

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He thought of himself as a great listener.

The Truth

Self-perceptions seldom align with the way others perceive us. For example, you may think of yourself as a great listener. That doesn’t mean others think the same. Worse yet, it doesn’t mean you actually are a great listener.

What you think about your skills means less than what others think of them. Thinking you can, is not enough. If others don’t think you listen well, you don’t.

A simple evaluation

Think about yesterday’s conversations. Mentally compare the amount of time you spent with your mouth opened as opposed to shut. (I’m only looking for indicators.)

Are you a talker or a listener? Remember, your greatest tool of influence is your ears not your mouth.

Challenge

How about this, rather than mentally comparing your talk-time to your listen-time, I dare you to actually keep track of the amount of time you talk compared to the amount of time you listen.

What went wrong

Why didn’t she feel listened to?

His assumptions got in the way. She said one thing and he assumed many things. The result, she felt trapped by his assumptions.

Suggestion

Rather than state assumptions, turn them into clarifying questions. Say, “I want to make sure I understand. Are you saying…”

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What blocks listening?

What makes you feel listened to?

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