David Schaeffer, in his soon to be released book Stress Less Live More, emphasises seven actions people can take to minimise stress. One of these – personal conversation – has become a lost art as the world has moved from courtesy and care to criticism and contempt.
Oscar Trimboli's work on Deep Listening shows that it is such a critical skill in personal conversations. Working with larger organisations on this topic Oscar transforms productivity and culture.
In addition to being able to listen deeply, it is an art to be easy to listen to. I have talked before about how most people have 'dialogue' that is more along the lines of 'talk fast about self'; in tell mode; focused on what they want to say. Versus 'conversation' that is more about listening, questioning, taking an interest in others, and remembering their passions, common interests, concerns and needs.
In conversation the only one learning is the one listening.
So... Instead of always trying to say something profound, ask questions to see if others have something profound to say that you can add to your wisdom bank.
Here are some key factors in being easy to listen to:
- Pace: We metabolise thoughts and speech at different paces, just as we metabolise food at different paces. The first key to being easy to listen to is to slow down to half pace.
- Volume: Don't be too loud, nor speak in a mumbling whisper. You may have heard it said, "The loudest person in an argument has lost authority."
- Body Language: Relaxed body language will always make us easier to listen to than aggressive or over-the-top body language.
- Tone: The same thing can have different meanings depending on tone.
- Care: "Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care" – T. Roosevelt. This is true, however they "don't know how much we care until they experience our caring." Pace, volume, body language and tone will show how much we care about those we are talking to. And remember, especially in minor issues, 'it is better to be kind than right.'