How was your month? How many Lightbulb Moments did you get to experience? I'd like to share my biggest one with you.
Last month I talked about asking questions, specifically about asking why. This month I wanted to follow that up with what happens after we ask Why, sounds obvious but I'm still going to say it.. you have to LISTEN to the answer.
Of course, I hear you say. "Doh!... that's why I asked" you might respond, but I will challenge you. Did you really listen? Did you open up your mind without judgement and hear everything? Listen with your eyes? Did you see the physical response your question had on the other person? Did they look happy, uncomfortable, concerned, amused, serious or flattered?
Listening can never get you in trouble, It's what happens after that can be the problem. If you jump back with a dismissive challenge or disregard the message, the communication could result in negative conflict. If you only hear part of the message or distort it to what you are interested in, your counterpart will feel rejected, and may not be forthcoming with information in the future. If you asked a question with judgement of what they will say, then likely you wont get the whole story.
Listening is hard. It's something we don't get taught how to do, we are just expected to do it. Have you ever been told to "pay attention when I talking to you". Good advice, but how do we do that, exactly?
We can look like we are paying attention, by using eye contact, and confirming noises, like aha, yep, right, ok.. but there's more to it than that. So what stops us from paying attention and listening effectively?
The biggest issue with listening is distraction, which comes in many different forms. Consider these areas when you want to hear something.
What is going on in your head right now?
Are you ready to listen or are you thinking about other things? Do you have a preconceived idea of what you might or might not hear? If you are already in a place of judgement, everything you hear will come from that place. You might not be ready right now to listen. Be honest, take the time to clear you head, remove judgement and just listen.
Where are you?
Is there noise around you? Are you in the middle of something which is taking up your brain space. Are you in a private or public space, are you wondering who else is listening? Now that we have got used to working remotely, are you in a place that allows you to focus on the person talking, or are you in the car, or checking your emails? Set up a space which is conducive to hearing fully and be present.
What is your physical state?
Are you Hangry? When our bodies need nourishment our brains can't focus on much else. If you are tired or feeling anxious it's likely that your listening skills will be diminished. Emotions regulate how we react and if you are not feeling yourself, or have an emotional attachment to something, you will need to get that in check before opening up for active listening.
When have you thought you heard someone only to discover you were only listening to reply and not to understand? Check out my website for my top tips on building great relationships and more ideas on listening here.
Thanks for reading, I hope this has given you some things to think about and you have some of your own Lightbulb Moments.
I'd love to hear about them.
If you would like some help experiencing them, I'd love to help.
Please share this with anyone you know who loves experiencing Lightbulb Moments.
Enjoy the Ping!
Check out Why Simon Sinek loves Why as well
Viki Johnston, a Brit who has recently moved to Southern California with her family, is a self-confessed learning junkie. Having flunked out of school at 17, she spent the next 30 (cough) years trying to figure out why learning stuff is so hard. She made it her mission to help others believe in their abilities and achieve more than they thought possible. Now through her coaching and business focused training she helps others to experience the "light bulb moment" and strive to greatness.