Learn the Lost Art of Active Listening

November 24, 2020 by  

With all the modern technology that we have for communicating with each other even across the world, it seems that most people have forgotten how to with someone who is standing right next to them. In particular, listening has become a lost art.
That is too bad, too, because knowing how to listen effectively can bring you a lot of benefits. It can strengthen both personal and professional relationships. It can help your marriage and boost your career.

Consider using these listening techniques the next time someone wants to talk with you:
• Give them your undivided attention. Your other activities during a conversation show the other person how important they are to you. When you pay attention only to them, not only does it uplift them, but you are also more likely to fully understand whatever they are saying and prevent miscommunications.
 Stop whatever else you are doing.
 Put away your phone.
 Turn off other distractions, such as the TV.
 Stay in the present moment, which is listening to what they are saying. Avoid the temptation to let your mind wander to other things (like what you will eat for supper) or move forward to formulate what you will say next.

• Make eye contact. Failure to keep eye contact can make it seem as though you aren’t paying any attention to the conversation. One trick to help you maintain eye contact is to focus on just one of the person’s eyes at a time.
 You can look away momentarily from time to time, so it won’t appear as though you are staring at them. Once you look away, though, bring your focus back to them quickly so that you won’t get distracted by something else. Also, this cues them that you are still listening.

• When they stop talking, first summarize what you just heard them say. This will help you clarify their meaning. Let them agree with your summary or make changes if they need to. It will then be possible for you to add your own perspective, thoughts, or any questions you may have.

• Ask questions. Instead of trying to read someone’s mind, if you don’t understand what is being said, simply ask for clarification. This will ensure that no assumptions are made, and misunderstandings are avoided.
 Asking appropriate questions also lets them know that you were listening intently and trying to understand their perspective.

• Avoid interrupting. However, tempting it is to jump in with comments or solutions, keep quiet until they stop speaking and it is your turn.

 Sometimes people are just looking to vent and get their issues off their chest. Let them finish. They will appreciate you and it may help them relieve their stress about the issue. By saying nothing, you can help them feel better!

Remember, others won’t always be able to recall everything you say in a conversation, but they will likely remember how you made them feel.

You can uplift those around you, avoid misunderstandings, and strengthen your relationships by practicing these easy listening techniques each day.

Your partner, friends, boss, and clients will be impressed. So do reap the benefits of knowing the lost art of listening!

Be Accountable So You Can Be in Control of Your Actions

November 2, 2020 by  

The story of George Washing confessing to cutting down the cherry tree has also been useful for generations of parents as an example of taking accountability. As a child, you may have learned that it is more honourable to own up to your actions rather than blame others or make excuses about why it is the tree’s fault.
On the other hand, holding ourselves responsible can feel risky. Admitting our faults may threaten our self-image and open us up to criticism from others. It may seem safer to focus on external circumstances instead of looking at our own actions.
The truth is that you could be missing out on more happiness and success by trying to evade responsibility.

Learn more about the importance of developing personal accountability.

The Benefits of Accountability:
1. Build confidence. True self-esteem requires having the courage to take an honest look at yourself. Accept your weaknesses and missteps, as well as your strengths and accomplishments.
2. Make positive changes. Taking responsibility puts you in control of your life. You can learn and grow. You will show yourself that you are capable of adapting to change and handling the consequences of your actions. You can take action to resolve negative circumstances.
3. Strengthen your relationships. Earn trust by living up to your commitments. You will deepen your connection with family, friends, and coworkers.
4. Reduce stress. In the long run, facing the truth usually creates less anxiety than trying to cover it up. Being responsible allows you to enjoy greater peace of mind.

Tips for Being Accountable:
1. Evaluate your performance. Make it a habit to assess your role in any situation. While external events do matter, focusing on what you can control is more productive.
2. Monitor yourself. Pay attention to your behaviour even when there are no other witnesses around. Assume equal responsibility for successes and setbacks.
3. Set realistic goals. Do you sometimes excuse your conduct because you are trying to juggle too many activities? Respect your limits and shorten your to-do list. Creating priorities will help you to accomplish more.
4. Listen carefully. It is difficult to hear what others are saying when you are on the defensive. Listen with an open mind, so you can understand their position even if you disagree.
5. Apologize skillfully. Express regret promptly and sincerely when you let someone down. If possible, try to make amends and avoid repeating your mistakes.
6. Consider others. If you need another reason to work on accountability, think about your impact on others. Remember how you feel when a business or a loved one harms you and refuses to take responsibility.

Tips for Fostering Accountability:
1. Communicate clearly. Encouraging a more accountable culture makes it easier to assume responsibility. Start by clarifying your expectations and the consequences for not meeting them. Ensure that you understand what others expect of you as well.
2. Be forgiving. Help others to be truthful. Respond with mercy rather than anger. You are bound to need a second chance sometime too.
3. Exchange constructive feedback. Talk with others about how to make progress moving forward. Share specific observations, praise, and criticism. Be grateful for any insights they give you.
4. Provide a role model. By assuming more accountability, you can automatically have a positive impact on others. You will be teaching your children an important life lesson and contributing to a healthier workplace and society.

Accountability is a skill that grows stronger with practice. Take charge of your life by assuming responsibility for your actions. You will empower yourself to build the future you really want if you are accountable for your actions and generally take responsibility for everything you do.