Here’s one of the many communication tips I learned at a recent workshop led by my good friend, Dr. Ted Klontz:
Good communication has a lot to do with just listening. In there lies the rub – usually I want to talk. We all have a lot to say. How, then, is listening good communication? How am I going to talk if I’m listening all the time? As you may recall from Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” he recommends seeking first to understand before being understood. This is accurate, but moreover there are basic human needs that the primitive part of the brain (reptilian, mammalian) seeks to be met in every interaction – which is why we want to talk instead of listen!
On a very powerful level, belonging, safety, purpose and connection are needs the subconscious brain is seeking to fulfill when communicating. If you are truly listening and feeding back eye contact, head nods and positive body language to the person you are interacting with, you are satisfying these basic needs by reinforcing the sense of belonging that “Yes, you are a part of the tribe; ” that “Yes, you are safe with me.” With these listening techniques, you are creating a powerful opening to be heard when you finally do speak.
So remember, before you speak actual words, your body language, your eye contact and your tone of voice are all communicating loud and clear to the subconscious brain of the person you are with. If you actually want to talk and be understood at some point – listen first.