How Do Navigators Listen?

How Do Navigators Listen?

Woman With Headphones Listening To Music“You Deserve To Live An Extraordinary Life!”

In last week’s post I mentioned that there are five key communication skills: 1) Knowing what conversation you are really having; 2) Listening Well; 3) Straight Talk; 4) Accepting Feedback; 5) Making No Assumptions. Today, let’s discuss the second skill that is important for communicating like a navigator: Listening Well.

What is more important: listening or speaking? It seems that people do a lot more talking than listening, so maybe talking gets the vote. But in my own experience, listening is a more important contributor to success. As we know, lots of talking is not the same as effective communication, especially when the parties involved are under stress! Voices get louder, opinions are shot back and forth, and it becomes unlikely that either person can hear—much less grasp—what the other person is trying to say.

When conflicts of interest arise, or feelings are involved, listening becomes especially crucial. Good listening reduces defensiveness. It creates a sense of being valued and appreciated. This is not the kind of listening where one person is temporarily quiet while they wait for their chance to speak. Good listening involves paying concentrated attention to what is being said. It also requires some active behavior on the listener’s part so that the speaker knows he or she is being heard.

Three good practices can help you to enhance the quality of your listening:

  1. Seek to understand. Let the other person see that you are trying to understand their point of view:

“Let me make sure I understand what you are saying. What I’m hearing is… Am I right? Tell me more!”

  1. Validate what you hear. People want to be valued, respected, and appreciated. Good listeners validate what they hear:

“What you say makes sense from your point of view. I can see where you’re coming from.”

  1. Empathize. Appreciate the other person’s feelings, especially if they are upset. Don’t take their anger or frustration personally. Instead of getting defensive, try showing some compassion:

I hear how upset you are about what happened. You must have felt really hurt and disregarded.”

Become a powerful listener by expressing understanding, validation, and empathy. Let the other person talk first: seek to understand, rather than be understood. Then, express your own point of view, thoughts, and feelings. Lastly, problem-solve together. If you can’t find a joint solution or compromise, take a time out and revisit the topic later.

As I mentioned in the last post, successful communication can be learned! Next week we will explore the skill Straight Talk. Find out more in my book “Navigating for Success.”