Listening is tough, especially when we are under fire. Here’s one reason why we struggle

First, Appreciate your brilliance.

Our brilliant brains think at the rate of 1,000 to 1,400 words per minute. People speak at about 125 to 140 words per minute. That affords us a lot of downtimes—time to get distracted, begin our defense, come up with solutions, daydream, and, eventually, interrupt.

Plus, most of us listen actively for only about 17 seconds at a time! Actively means we are working on it!  Without effort, our attention drops down to a mere eight seconds.

During your 100-1200 words-per-minute downtime, keep checking to be sure you stay in the listening game and don’t drift.

If that doesn’t work, don’t pretend. Let the person you are trying to hear know that you really want to hear them and that you may slow thongs down occasionally to verify what they are saying.

Paraphrasing is a good way to verify.

  • Share what you are hearing.
  • Ask if you’re are getting it right.
  • If you miss something, correct it.
  • Repeat the new information back.
  • Watch your body language and tone.

Your goal is to build a get a solid, “Yes, you are hearing what I’m saying.”

Then continue until they let you know you have heard them out. Validate and empathize with their story and most of the time you will have gained credibility and maybe even appreciation.

Being heard is the great desire when people are struggling. If you can accomplish that you will have gone a long way toward continuing the conversation toward positive outcomes.

Steven Covey says: Seek first to understand, and then, to be understood.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear from you and I will reply! Please email me at [email protected]