be a good listener

W.A.I.T.

Why Am I Talking? Good question!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love to talk. However, I have learned over the years that one major skill of an effective coach is to listen. Someone once told me: “we have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we speak.” Listening really is a skill.

Most of us want others to hear what we have to say. It makes us feel good to know that they are interested, we believe that we are valued when someone takes the time to listen. Not only to hear what we have to say but also to understand the full message behind the words. We talk about someone being ‘worth’ listening to, thus for many people their self worth is attached to the amount of attentive listeners they have in their life.

We’ve all heard of the expression active listening. What does it really mean? I think of it as The Act of listening. It is obvious that we can listen with our ears to hear the words someone is saying. We can also listen with our eyes to see what that person is communicating. Their words may convey a surface message and their physiology and facial expressions something deeper. We can show that we are listening by extending a gentle hand, leaning forward or nodding slowly.

I get annoyed with my husband, when I think he is not listening to me. He says he is listening but he is not looking at me. Then I’m shocked when he recites the previous three sentences I uttered. How can he pay attention when his head is buried behind the newspaper? It must be a male thing. He doesn’t understand my frustration or my need to see that he is actively listening.

Some signs that may indicate we are talking too much are: the other person looks at their watch, or makes a move to leave, opens a door or window, their eyes wander around the room, they shift endlessly in their seat. When I become aware of these behaviours, I quietly ask myself why am I talking?

Then I focus on my guest and WAIT….

Posted in Choices, Coaching, communication and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Anne McKeown