The October series, Holy Conversations, is focused on how we communicate, but great conversations are about much more than eloquent speaking.
The Harvard Business Review has some news that may surprise you. All the techniques for good listening you’ve been taught to do over the last few years – staying quiet, saying “yes” or “mmm-hmm”, and repeating back what someone has said – are only partially helpful.
Their research uncovered several key findings. Think of these 3 habits as new versions of the Golden Rule.
Engage with the person speaking. Listening is more than letting the other person speak; it’s about knowing when and how to ask questions.
Allow the other person to speak openly. Hold back on your impulse to jump in and solve the problem or interrupt while you point out errors in logic. The research stated, “Good listeners may challenge assumptions and disagree, but the person being listened to feels the listener is trying to help, not wanting to win an argument.”
Affirm the other person. Keep the atmosphere positive. People will feel understood and supported, even when opinions differ.
Imagine someone leaving a conversation and saying, “What a great discussion.” You can be the person they’re talking about.
Get to it!