Be a good listener

A slight improvement in our listening skills can pay enormous dividends in the way of better relationships, enhanced performance, and yes, even stress reduction!

Take a moment to reflect on your own listening skills. Do you truly listen to your colleagues? Do you let them finish their thoughts before you take your turn? Do you sometimes finish sentences for other people? In meetings, are you patient and responsive – or are you impatient and reactive? Do you allow words from others to sink in, or do you assume you know what the person is trying to say, so you jump in?

There are a variety of reasons why effective listening is very important. First of all, people who listen well are highly respected and sought after. Truly great listeners are so rare that when you are around one, it feels good, it makes you feel special.

Good listeners are easy to be around, so, quite naturally, you want to reach out and help them. Therefore, when you become a better listener, there will probably be plenty of people in your corner to offer assistance. People tend to be loyal to good listeners because they feel acknowledged and respected.

Effective listening helps you to understand what people are saying the first time they say it, thus allowing you to avoid a great number of mistake and misinterpretations which, as you know, can be very stressful. If you ask people what frustrates them and makes them angry,  many will tell you that "not being listened to" is right near the top of their lists so, being more attentive to what others are saying also helps you avoid many, if not most, interpersonal conflicts.