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Training Tip Tuesday: Listen to Communicate Part 1

Have you noticed that your calendar in the next few weeks is becoming fuller? I see a renaissance in social event organizing, and a desire to not repeat last year’s holiday weariness. You may be looking forward to dusting off your holiday wear and working out your holiday mixer muscles, or you’re approaching the next few weeks with hesitation. This year, reentry into the social scene stirs up both positive and negative reactions.

This week’s Training Tip is for you who have recognized that the days between Thanksgiving and the end of the year holidays may be more challenging than you remember from past years.

Training tip: Listen to communicate.

Seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Active Listening is one skill our members practice @ The Gym. When you are truly listening, you change your focus during conversations. You want to listen to the other party until you are able to reflect back what you heard the other person say, both to confirm your understanding of the message but also the intent of the message. The ability to rephrase content and to reflect emotion without validation or criticism ensures a productive conversation in which the other person feels heard and understood.

So all I have to do is listen? That makes the next few weeks of parties seem doable!

Well, not really. Listening to understand requires you to ask questions. And not just any questions, GOOD questions. This is where curiosity comes into play. Here are a few questions to help you listen:

  • Can you tell me more about that?

  • What can you do? What do you need from others?

  • How did you come to that conclusion?

  • Please tell me what you mean by __.

You may need to politely interrupt the individual if you need clarification or want to confirm your understanding before they proceed. Be sure to use the same words they use when referring to emotions. Emotions are very personal and differ in meaning to each individual.

When you reflect emotion, you acknowledge and respect the other person’s perspective without validating or criticizing it.

When you listen for emotional content and meaning, you are building deposits in your emotional bank account and relational success. Refocusing your intent as you enter social situations may be the key to sincerely enjoying the event and connecting on a deeper level with another human.

Real-world practice: Choose 3 conversations today where you rephrase content and reflect emotion without validation or criticism.

Drop a comment to tell us about your real-world practice. If you’re still in need of a communication workout, join us for Live @ The Gym on LinkedIn Thursdays at 11:30am ET and subscribe to our blogs for more tips straight to your inbox.

See YOU @ The Gym!

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