Avoiding the Five Pitfalls to Becoming an Empathetic Listener
Articles By Joe Love
It seems that our formal schooling is not doing a good job of preparing us for a good career. If you want to be successful in any field, an average of 40 percent of your time will be spent listening, not talking. But in all the years you spent in school, how much time was spent teaching you how to do that?
According to a study done by the University of North Carolina Wilmington, on average, less than one year of your entire grade school education is spent teaching you how to be a good listener. You spend 35 percent of your working life talking, and only about two of your grade school years learning how to talk.
On the other hand, the same study found that an average of 16 percent of your working life is spent reading, yet a total of seven of your grade school years are spent learning how to read. Nine percent of your life will be spent writing, but 12 years of your education is spent learning how to write.
There is a misplaced priority hear. Listening is so important in career success, that, since you probably didn't learn much about it in school, you'll have to work to learn that discipline on your own.
I was a poor listener when I first started out in my career because I love to talk. In fact, the reason that my mentor suggested that I go into consulting was because I could talk so well. So it took me a while to realize that I was often, "talking myself" right out of clients.
Luckily, and it's so important that you realize this, if you are not the best listener, your skills can be improved. But before you can start finding out how to listen well, you should know the type of listener you are. There are three types of listeners:
The poor listener. These types of people are more concerned with what they, themselves, are going to say, and are always looking for an opening in the "conversation" in which to say it. A poor listener does not really hear the words or notice the body language.
The average listener. These types of people hear other's words but, instead of totally focusing on them, they are thinking about other things. This type of listener may pay more attention to other people's body language, but they are not good at interpreting it.
The empathetic listener. Here's the one I want you to become. Empathetic listeners totally focus on the person to whom they're speaking with. They really hear the words, blocking out all the distractions and watching body language. I'd really like you to take the skill of being an empathetic listener not only into your business, but also into your home. I think it will help your personal life as well.
So, why aren't more people better empathetic listeners? These are five listening pitfalls of which most people are not aware:
1. Fatigue, you are tired and burned out, and it's hard to listen.
2. Distractions. There are many distractions in your daily life both at work and home.
3. Time lag. This means that you are either speaking slower or faster than the other person is used to, and there's a lag in their though process.
4. Semantics, you're using words for which they're getting the wrong meaning.
5. Not watching body language. Of course, body language is a minor art in the overall skill of conversation, but it's very important. I suggest that you look for and study books that give you a complete overview of body language.
If you avoid these pitfalls, catch yourself when you're falling into them and consciously train yourself to improve your conversation and listening skills, then you will soon become an empathetic listener. Then, you'll not only have people lined up to talk to you but also to do business with you as well.
Copyright©2009 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and success coaching programs. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in career coach training. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many businesses around the world, on the subjects of leadership, achievement, goals, strategic business planning, and marketing. Joe is the author of three books, Starting Your Own Business, Finding Your Purpose In Life, and The Guerrilla Marketing Workbook. http://www.jlmandassociates.com/about.php
Keywords: Becoming an Empathetic Listener, conversation, career success, Joe Love, intuitive, Intuition, Articles, UK, South Africa, Cape Town