Hey all! This holiday season I’m going to do twelve blogs that will focus on the true spirit of Christmas, giving, while still embodying the true spirit of A Measured Life: maximum results for minimum cash. This series is going to feature twelve ways you can bring joy to others this holiday season even if you don’t have a lot to spend. I hope you find this series fun and inspirational and try some of the tasks I’ve set out for you. They’re easy, honest!
I’ll be counting down from twelve and ending with one on Christmas Eve. Spread the joy along with me!
On the 6th blog of Christmas AML posed to me:
Spend 6 minutes of your time really listening to someone.
I don’t mean having a conversation. I don’t mean being defensive. I don’t mean pretending to listen. I mean really, truly listening. From MindTools.com:
1. Pay Attention
Give the speaker your undivided attention, and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also “speaks” loudly.
- Look at the speaker directly.
- Put aside distracting thoughts.
- Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal!
- Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. For example, side conversations.
- “Listen” to the speaker’s body language .
2. Show That You’re Listening
Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.
- Nod occasionally.
- Smile and use other facial expressions.
- Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting.
- Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh.
3. Provide Feedback
Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions.
- Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is,” and “Sounds like you are saying,” are great ways to reflect back.
- Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say.” “Is this what you mean?”
- Summarize the speaker’s comments periodically.
4. Defer Judgment
Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.
- Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions.
- Don’t interrupt with counter arguments.
5. Respond Appropriately
Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down.
- Be candid, open, and honest in your response.
- Assert your opinions respectfully.
- Treat the other person in a way that you think he or she would want to be treated.
Being listened to, and understood, is one of the best feelings in the world, don’t you think?
Keep your eyes peeled for #5, coming up next!