We live in a world driven by time lines, goals, expectations, and responsibilities. Nearly everyone is faced with the question “How do I manage, prioritize, and balance my life?” Stress is among the ill effects of a hurried society. In addition to wrecking your health, stress dilutes the quality of your communication experiences.
Time to communicate and connect is short, and you are often given short answers to complex problems. Meetings are filled with multitaskers who respond to email alerts while a colleague is presenting an idea. Relationships are plagued with silence while cyber games and Facebook feeds garner their mates’ attention.
Regardless of your schedule, when you fail to be fully present and only passively listen to a colleague, client, or family member, you disregard another human being. By making a task more important than a human being, you diminish your connection and ability to maximize your own performance by failing to create an amicable relationship with the person, whom you may need in the future.
Oprah Winfrey said, “People want to know: Do you hear me? Do you see me? Does what I say mean anything to you?” When you say yes to these questions and act on your yes, you validate a person’s existence, feelings, and opinions. When a person is speaking, it is imperative that they know that you are with them and that you compassionately understand what they are saying, even if you don’t agree with them.
The following four actions will improve your assertive listening and inter- personal relationship skills.
1. Ask “Is there anything else?” Listen until the person has completed their thoughts.
2. Ask Clarifying Questions Ask clarifying questions to solidify your understanding of what the person is saying. You can say, “For clarity, can you elaborate on what you meant by . . .” or “Help me to understand what you mean by . . .”
3. Validate the Speaker’s Feelings and Opinions Put the person at ease by validating that you understand what the person is feeling. Use compassionate statements like, “I can understand why you feel that way . . .” or “I can see how that could make you feel . . .” or “Under the circumstances, I see why you would think that . . .”
This is an excerpt from my book, 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want. Click the link to order now.
Copyrights 2018 S. Renee Smith, www.srenee.com. For speaking or coaching services call 888-588-0423.