How often have you found your mind drifting when “listening” to someone else in a conversation? You may be hearing their words but not really focusing on what they are saying. Then, suddenly, a key word catches your attention and you realize you’ve missed everything that led up to that word.
Listening is an essential part of communication. Truly listening, not just hearing. When you listen with intent, you are focused totally on what the other person is saying. You are not thinking about your to-do list, about deadlines at work, or even about what your next words are going to be.
Listen with your eyes as well as your ears when having a conversation in person. Body language can carry its own messages. If you are distracted, you will miss both the spoken word as well as the subtle messages being sent through eye contact, hand position, and body posture.
Focused listening requires being mindful of what the other person is saying. It’s a crucial step in the completion of the communication cycle.
Listening takes effort, but the effort will pay off when you realize how much more fully engaged in the conversation you have become. You’ve been missing a lot!