Listening is More Than Simply "Not Speaking"
JW Way #5 Listen Fully. Listening is more than simply "not speaking." Give others your undivided attention. Set aside your own judgments and preconceived notions. Listen with focus. Most importantly, listen to understand.
Listening fully may be one of the best gifts you can give your client, colleagues, friends, family and yourself. It is a powerful tool. Focus on what is being said, not how you want to respond. Think about the story the speaker is telling you, not the story you want to tell the speaker. You may miss out if you assume you know the end of the story while someone is still talking. Be attentive and show the speaker you are truly interested in what they are saying. You will be surprised at how much you learn.
People like to fill up silences and, if you allow people breathing room to speak, they may open up and give you more information and more insight. Try counting to three before you respond – the speaker may have more to say!
Good listeners let people feel as if they've been both heard and understood. What a wonderful gift to give someone.
About the author: Lauren Garner is a partner at the Phoenix, Arizona law firm Jaburg Wilk. She assists clients with probate, trust litigation, and mediation. Lauren also serves as a settlement judge for the Maricopa County Superior Court Probate Division.