Comfortable being uncomfortable

By Lisa Evans via fastcompany.com   Article

Six Habits of Good Listeners

“When we think of great leaders, we often think about individuals who give speeches that motivate action, but in addition to being great speakers, great leaders are also great listeners. …

Follow these six habits of great listeners:

1. THEY PRACTICE BEING TRULY MINDFUL

… ‘If you’re really mindful, you’re in the moment. You’re focusing on what the other person is saying and avoiding the natural inclination and temptation to judge, predict, and evaluate” …

2. THEY TAKE A PAUSE BEFORE RESPONDING

In order to avoid awkward silences and gaps in conversation, often we will formulate our response to someone while they’re still speaking. This … gets in the way of effective listening. Instead, take a pause after the speaker is finished to think about your response. …

3. THEY PARAPHRASE WHAT WAS JUST SAID

… This gives the speaker the opportunity to say, ‘Yes, you’re really hearing me,’ or, ‘No, that’s not quite right.’ Reflective listening not only shows the speaker that you’re truly engaged and interested in understanding them, but avoids the opportunity for misunderstandings.

4. THEY HAVE AN OPEN MIND

… ‘We tend to think that we understand where people are coming from before they even start speaking’ …. Great listeners … have a willingness to be humble and accept that they don’t know what someone else is thinking, even if that someone else is as close to us as our spouse. …

5. THEY ARE COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE

… Sometimes you’re forced to hear things that you don’t agree with. ‘We have a desire to step away from that discomfort by defending ourselves or offering our viewpoint’ …, but resisting the urge to interrupt is a critical skill for a good listener to adopt.

6. THEY ARE AWARE OF THEIR BODY LANGUAGE

The way you position your physical self lets the speaker know whether you’re engaged in the conversation. When actively listening, lean slightly forward, make eye contact, and give the occasional nod to show you’re interested. Avoid using your body as a physical barrier by crossing your arms or covering your face with your hands.”

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