Do You Want To Be a Better Listener?

Are there important people in your life that say “you don’t listen to me” or “it seems as if everything I tell you goes in one ear and out the other?” Do you have difficulty remembering people’s names, what they say and their tone of voice? Do you get agitated with long discussions and lots of questions without some physical action and visual material to look at? If so, you are not alone. Do you know that 78% of the population has Auditory as their least preferred sensory pathway to take in information? And, do you know that only 7% of the population has Auditory as their primary preferred way to receive information? These are the people most likely to tell you that you are not listening, unless you are an auditory learner as well.

Is it any wonder why there are so many misunderstandings, false assumptions, erroneous conclusions, wasted time in meetings, conflict and costly mistakes, when the world primarily uses Auditory communications to solve problems, make decisions, give instructions and exchange information? If you want to improve your relationship with the Auditory people in your life or just be a better listener overall, here are some simple and powerful neuroscience methods that work quickly.

Here are some powerful techniques to improve your listening skills in different environments:

Phone Conversations, Telemarketing, Webinars and Lectures

  • Close your eyes to remove visual distractions so you can listen deeply.
  • For phone calls, place the receiver to your right ear, which is a more direct connection to the “left brain” language-processing center. If you are left-handed, you may need to reverse the procedure.
  • Do something physical while you are listening like tapping yourself on the leg, squeezing a small ball or pacing about in a confined and safe space. These kinesthetic activities help you lock-in and remember what you heard.
  • Experiment taking notes using key words and doodles. Try retracing your doodles. You may discover an internal “playback” of what was said.

Meetings, One-on-One, Training and Sales Calls

  • Maintain a gentle focused gaze on the speaker, occasionally looking at a neutral point in the room and/or visual material to avoid the impression of staring.
  • Alternatively, take notes using key words and symbols as you are looking at the speaker.
  • Focus on the speaker’s words, their meaning and the tone of voice used.
  • Imagine yourself as a police scanner radio, oscillating back and forth between the Auditory and Visual channels. Try to remain as physically still as possible, avoiding kinesthetic distractions.

A universal method is paraphrasing what you think people said to let them know you are listening and to confirm you heard it correctly. This simple step saves time, eliminates frustration and builds good will.

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