#10 Shut Up and Listen!
Are you always fully present in your conversations?
If it’s not our time to talk, we lose interest.
Our mind can process thoughts faster than we talk. If someone’s talking to us, our mind tends to wonder ahead and we finish the sentences for them in our head. Sometimes we can think about the right ending, but often it's different from what our partner is actually saying. You listen what your mind tells you, not what was actually told.
How to get better?
To be an active listener you don’t only nod unknowingly, you take part in the conversation. Ask questions, comment and contribute to the conversation with your words and being present with your gestures. Show interest!
I’ve been part of meetings and conversations where people just phase out and take a bigger interest in their phones. I’ve done it myself previously and feel this is disrespectful. I’m doing everything I can to cut my phone time and being present.
Eliminate or switch it off.
Don’t take it with you to the meeting or going out with friends. Leave the phone home or someplace where you can’t take it out and scroll through social media. It’s a habit same as looking into the fridge. You know there’s nothing there, but you still take a peek after every 5 minutes.
Our smartphones are like a college kids freezer. You know that there's nothing in it, but you still take a quick peek in every 5 minutes just for the heck of it.
Simon Sinek told that when he’s going out with his friends they just take one phone with them for emergencies. Just to avoid the temptation of taking it out and scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and so on.
Hide and clean.
Hide all the documents and other things that might distract you. Especially if you are a leader. You need to fully focus on your people and 1-on-1 meetings. Have only the necessary documents with you. It's really important because you show that the person you are talking with is most important.
Focus and be present.
Don’t think of your next answer. I know it might be enticing picking 1 or 2 points from the conversation and think how you will answer them. Be there or be there!
Be an empathetic listener
Don’t confuse empathy with sympathy. Empathy is putting you in other's shoes to know how they feel. Sympathy is just feeling sorry for other because of their situation.
Don’t write an essay during the conversation, just mark down the pinpoints of the conversation. Write down the necessary numbers and facts that help you remember the conversation later on. Right after the meeting sum it all up when you still remember most of the conversation.
Please remember that everyone you are talking to deserves your full attention. Otherwise, why would you give them some of your valuable time? If you don't find someone interesting, do you and the other person a solid and just quit that social transaction. Life's too short for that.