The Art of Effective Listening

Effective Listening

In our previous blog post, Think You’re a Good Listener?, we talked about three key benefits one gains by really listening to what the other person has to say during a negotiation or other attempt to resolve conflict.  The question is, though:  how do you listen effectively?

We’ve all been there, telling our side of the story, when we get the sinking feeling that while our listener may be hearing what we say, they still don’t understand our point of view.  It can become frustrating and lead to raised voices and tempers.

The solution can be summed up nicely in a quote by Stephen Covey: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” 

Achieving this requires us to focus on listening intently and making sure that we understand (and prove that we understand) the other person’s viewpoint before we even start laying out our position or desire. 

Here’s how you can do this effectively:

  • Paraphrase.  After they’ve had an opportunity to state their position, just take a moment to rephrase what you heard.  By doing so, you also give them an opportunity to clarify some of the details or fill in important points they or you may have initially missed.
  • ŸEmpathize.  In most conflicts, feelings and motivations are key components driving our decisions and actions.  By exploring and understanding them, we can further our own understanding of their position.

  • Identify unmet needs.  Behind every conflict, there is a wound that needs to be healed.  It may be a fear or something they lack that is at the very heart of the dispute.  Take the time to figure out that unmet need and how to fulfill it.  You’ll be well on your way to mending bridges and finding a mutually appreciated resolution.

  • Be genuine.  We all can detect when what we are hearing (or seeing) doesn’t quite ring true.  Our top priority to resolving conflict is to build trust.  If we show genuine interest in what the other person has to say – in what we say and how we act, we’ll build that trust and move that much closer to a win-win solution.

Are the people in your business or organization suffering from unresolved conflicts? Business Relationship Edge has the solution and is available to help you make peace.  Give us a call at 732.859.8419 to learn more and schedule your 30-minute complimentary assessment.

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