“ I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant” ― Alan Greenspan
Take a minute to read that quote again and let it sink in. It’s so true – good communication can be quite challenging and often elusive. So how can we get our point across? How can we strengthen our relationships and build trust with those we love?
The way I see it, the most important and impactful thing we can do is:
Listen without judgement
Easier said than done, huh? Think about it, though. Communication is a two-way street. If one person is talking, someone else has to be listening. Most of the time we may look like we are listening. We lean in and nod our heads, but in reality, we are thinking about what we want to say next. We can’t wait for the other person to shut up so we can make our point.
So, the next time you truly want to have an effective conversation, LISTEN. Once you can do that, it actually becomes a conversation. One where each person shares their views and opinions without apprehension. A conversation where you can state your message clearly without fear of being judged. It is soooo hard. One trick I use is to lightly bite my tongue to stop myself from interrupting. Notice that I said “lightly.” You don’t want to draw blood! But this little tactic helps me focus on the listening.
Honestly, listening without judgement will truly make a difference in your relationships both at home and at work. And who knows, you may even learn something in the process.