Ohh, misunderstandings can be so annoying. Right?!  Who wants to repeat themselves one, two, three, four, or more times because someone else doesn’t take the time to really listen. (To listen AND watch click here!)

LISTEN BETTER to communicate better is the tip this week!

Do you listen?

Copyright Sebastiaan ter Burg. Used with permission.

The trick is that listening requires more than hearing words.  It requires more than being present, more than paraphrasing, more than eliminating distractions, more than nodding one’s head, and so on.  It requires oh, sooo much more.

Listening beyond a person’s words provides important clues for deeper meaning and unsaid thoughts.  For example, when I am facilitating a training class and ask the audience, “Does that example make sense?”  I sometimes see heads nodding up and down while others aren’t nodding at all. It is tricky to decipher meaning and dangerous to assume a head moving in an up and down pattern equates understanding or agreement. So, I don’t.  Instead, I ask these questions:

  1. What are their gestures saying?
  2. What is their posture like?
  3. What are the facial expressions communicating?
  4. What tone are they using?
  5. What kind of a relationship do you have with the other person?
  6. How might the relationship affect the communication?

So here is my challenge for you … listen beyond words.  Understand the entire context of the communication interaction by asking and answering the six questions above.  If you do, the chances are pretty good you will find a little more meaning than you first thought.