You cannot overstate the importance of effective communication, especially when it comes to people in leadership positions. But as most have come to realize, you cannot have effective communication with anyone if that discussion is missing one key ingredient. Namely, listening.

The discussions we encounter all over the internet are a testament to this. In most cases, people will only listen to another’s opinion or point of view if they already agree with them, or just as long as they can come up with a counterargument.

It’s the ability to effectively listen to others that determines the true nature of one’s character. Below are some of the best ways to increase your ability to listen, and by extension, communicate.

The Effective Communicator

When we talk about listening in the context of effective communication, we have to also pay attention to other factors than the words. In other words, an effective communicator will have to:

  • Look a person in the eyes when they are talking.
  • When listening, your priority should not be on what you will be saying next but listening.
  • Pay attention to the body language.
  • Don’t be afraid to repeat back what was said to check for understanding and clarification.

Recommended: 3 Tips to Keep Difficult Conversations on Track

The Personal Obstacles in Communication

There are some common obstacles and roadblocks in communication that you will need to look for and eliminate as soon as possible. Some of these may be related to the tone you use, the attitude you have going in, or simple communication habits, developed over time.

Others, however, may be related to other factors such as character flaws, prejudices, or some issues that need handling immediately.

For example:

Ordering and commanding It is no coincidence that bossing people around made it on this list. Merely commanding people what to do will, in many cases, only incentivize them to do the bare minimum and it will, most certainly, not make you an effective leader. Respect is, after all, earned not given or demanded. Respect also needs to be shared with others, so that it can sustain itself.

Threats and warnings There are always underlying issues to why employees underperform. People rarely, if ever, respond positively to threats of termination or other such punitive measures. It’s much better to listen to their problems than threatening them.

Preaching and moralizing Nobody likes to be treated as an inferior being, and you should never find yourself talking down to someone. That’s not what leaders do.

Advising or Giving Suggestions or Solutions Be mindful under what circumstances you are giving advice, suggestions or solutions. While some cases may demand it, others, however, may not. It is applicable in both your personal and professional life. In many cases, it’s much better to listen to other people’s problems than always providing them with unsolicited advice.

Recommended: 3 Key Lessons on How to Avoid Workplace Conflicts

Embrace Feedback

The best way to incorporate and streamline listening in your business is by embracing feedback. If you look at employee feedback as free consulting – which it is – you will realize why it’s the best method. Feedback, if used correctly, can be a powerful tool in an organization as well as in any relationship – professional or otherwise.

If you want to learn more about effective communication in the workplace, let’s connect: http://meetme.so/GregNichvalodoff or greg@inscapeconsulting.com

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