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May 16, 2018

Don't Listen To Respond

Listen Now:

The beautiful part about being a human is how seamlessly we can share our thoughts and communicate with each other. With that communication comes a complex package of expectations, etiquette, formalities, and nuances.  We are all very attentive to these subtle differences in our conversational partners and sometimes make assumptions about them based on our observations. For that reason, being a strong communicator is a very important skill to have in any setting.  

So, how can you be a strong communicator? One good thing to do is listen to understand, and not to respond.  

This is a difficult skill to have but it gets better with practice. Retaining and recalling information is hard enough as it is. Only 25% of what we hear is remembered, and when we are distracted thinking about what we should say in response, we retain even less information. To enumerate, a Princeton study shows that there is a lag time between what you hear and what you understand.  

A way to counteract this is to actively listen. This means that when someone is telling you something, you respond with a paraphrased version of what they said, then go on to elaborate with your own thoughts. This same technique can also be used when trying to remember someone’s name. This method drastically increases recall.  

So try it in a conversation you have today, and focus on actively listening and reiterating what your conversational partner says. Hopefully you notice verbal and non-verbal cues that indicate their engagement in the conversation,. You have a talk with more quality.

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